Gas pipes ripped from house

IPSWICH: A thief risked causing a major disaster when he stole gas pipes worth just �30.

The copper pipes were ripped from the side of a house in Surbiton Road, in the Westbourne area of Ipswich, leaving a steady stream of gas pumping out.

The owner, who was working at the time, said: “It was lucky the next-door neighbour was home and he spotted it, otherwise it would have been pumping out for hours.

“If someone had lit a cigarette they could have blown the whole lot up.”

The 27-year-old owner of the house, who asked not to be named, rushed home from work, when she was told of the incident.

“I was there within about half an hour and you could really smell the gas.

“The police were there and the gas board were trying to get into my house to shut off the supply.”

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The woman was left with a �160 repair bill but has been told the actual piping would only have netted the thief �30 from a scrap metal dealer.

“It is frightening that someone is going around doing this when it is worth so little.

“It is awful to think what would have happened if they had struck while I was asleep, I might not have woken up.”

Sara Wilcox, of the National Grid, said: “Stealing copper gas pipes is not only illegal but also very dangerous and should never be attempted.

“Such thefts can result in a gas escape and even a fire or explosion.”

A police spokesman confirmed a 10m section of copper pipe was stolen from the exterior wall of the house during the raid which took place around 11.30am on Wednesday, last week.

She said: “The pipes were pulled off by hand and the thief made off on a pedal cycle.

“We are grateful that witnesses called in so quickly and we would encourage people to report any suspicious activity in their area.”

The man is described as white, aged in his late 30s or early 40s, with very short hair.

He was wearing blue jeans and a blue jacket and riding a dark-coloured mountain bike while carrying a Farm Foods carrier bag.

n Anyone with information should call Sergeant Ash Warby of the Central Ipswich Safer Neighbourhoods Team on 01473 613500.

n If you smell gas call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111999.