A metal thief is believed to have strangled himself to death while climbing a utility pole and removing electricity cables from a village.


The man’s lifeless body was discovered by shocked local residents in Huizhou City, in South China’s Guangdong Province, who found the would-be thief hanging from the top of the utility pole.


The unsettling scenes meant none of the locals were willing to approach or even check on the man, who had left his shoes on the ground and climbed the pole in order to cut the wires.


Arriving police discovered a pair of pliers on the ground and concluded that the man was trying to sell the cables to black market dealers.


But the metal thief could not carry out the crime before he was apparently strangled to death by one of the cables he tried to steal, after possibly electrocuting himself and momentarily losing consciousness.


Firefighters were called to remove the man’s body from the utility pole after medical staff from a nearby hospital pronounced him dead at the scene.


The man’s identity has so far not been revealed by the authorities.


Metal theft is driven by rapid industrialisation and the demand for materials that comes with it. It is particularly widespread in rural China.