SUNDERLAND Magistrates’ Court was plunged into darkness for four and a half hours today after a bungling workman cut through a power cable.
It is believed the accident happened at about 11am when a contractor working on the new Keel Square cut through an underground electricity power cable.
The court building lost all its power, including the security system to the cells.
All prisoners who were remanded in custody were transferred to South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
The building has an emergency power supply, but officials adjourned this afternoon’s planned sessions.
A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service said: “Sunderland Magistrates’ Court and surrounding buildings were affected by the power cut.
“As a result all remand hearings have been transferred to South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court and all other hearings have been adjourned.”
Northern Powergrid confirmed that a contractor notified it that an electricity cable had been damaged, and an engineer was at the scene within two hours.
A spokeswoman said: “We are sorry for the disruption that this third-party damage to our network has caused our customers.
“Our engineers restored power at 3.40pm today.
“We thank our customers for their patience while we carried out the necessary emergency repairs.”
A Sunderland City Council spokesman said: “As part of the supporting lighting infrastructure and works around Keel Square, we can confirm that a ‘cable strike’ occurred earlier today.
“We have been speaking to contractors and utility companies about this incident.”