Dangerous electrical socket in Tunis

Crossed Wires - shocking installations spotted by our readers

We invite you to photograph careless or downright horrific wiring you see on your travels. By Vitali Vitaliev

It started with an email from reader Denis Sharp following my After All column this time last year (‘Three Cheers for Five-Umbrella Hotels’). He sent me a photo taken by a friend, showing an Indian hotel bathroom with the shower plugged into a 15A mains socket straight underneath – a ‘power shower’ of sorts.

When we published this photo it must have touched a chord (or perhaps a naked wire) among E&T readers, many of whom could relate to the issues of electric wiring either as professionals or as knowledgeable amateurs. There followed a flow of photos featuring shoddy and, occasionally, outrageously careless, wiring ‘solutions’ spotted by our peripatetic readers all over the globe. I created a special folder where I kept the best (worst?) examples.

The folder grew thicker by the day, prompting the idea of a readers’ photo competition, but we were finding it hard to agree about the criteria: should we do it on the strength of the photo or on the level of shoddiness of the electrics captured in it? In any case, we didn’t want to churn out propaganda for bad wiring, even if preceded with a ‘Don’t try at home’ warning. There was also a clear danger of trivialising the issue, for any careless wiring job is not so much funny as dangerous and even life-threatening.

Most of the photos you see here come from outside the UK, but that does not mean that electrical horrors don’t happen in Britain. The British charity Electrical Safety First reports that electric shocks lead to over 350,000 serious injuries a year.

At that point, we decided that competition was out of the question. On the other hand, your ‘scary’ wiring photos kept trickling in and we felt like encouraging you to name and shame the culprits and to laugh at them too, because even those who are not afraid of anything else are scared of mockery.

To cut a long wire short, we present this first selection of your photos and invite you to keep sending us examples of shoddy or outrageous electrics you come across.

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