Shop workers and customers were left in the dark after power was knocked out at a retail park.
Fire crews were called out after the outage at Hartlepool’s Anchor Retail Park about 4.25pm today.
A total of 10 stores were affected by the power cut, which is understood to have been caused by someone tampering with electrics.
Northern Power Grid is now carrying out repair work.
A spokesman for the organisation said: “We wouldn’t have had this situation if we hadn’t had a third-party tampering with the equipment.
“If anyone knows who is responsible, they should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”