IN the Reporter last week you published an article about copper pipe theft putting life on the line and asked for further stories. This is mine.
On February 28 last year I was woken at 2.30 in the morning by a noise. As I reached the bedroom door I was overwhelmed by the smell of gas. I woke my husband and we realised the smell was coming from underneath the stairs where the meter was.
We knew we couldn’t switch on any lights so I took the phone into the garden leaving the doors open and rang Transco. The man on the phone was trying to help, talking me through how to turn off the gas, but with having no light this proved unsuccessful. He could hear the hissing of the gas and told us to leave the house immediately. We had to wait outside away from the house. There was still snow on the ground and it was below freezing. When Transco arrived the engineer immediately leapt into action. It was he who explained that the outer gas pipes had been wrenched off, which had broken the meter allowing gas to escape in the house.
He told us how lucky we had been as it was on the verge of exploding and he rang the police. I can only say that the attitude of the police was so unsympathetic and matter-of-fact that I felt quite angry. When I pointed out that we could have been gassed in our beds or blown up, their reaction was that unless they could catch someone running through the street with lengths of copper pipe they couldn’t do anything.
The value of the pipe taken we were told was approximately £3!!. The cost to the insurance company was £900.00 together with the cost to us of securing the garden as a deterent £500. I have nothing but praise for Transco and the actions of the man who attended to everything. I know the police have a difficult job to do but sometimes do not see the wider picture which could have resulted in this latest incident.
This incident happened over 12 months ago and there were further incidents in the neighbourhood and still no one has been caught. Hopefully if they are they will be charged with endangering life as well as theft.
BARBARA AND STEWART ELLIS