THIEVES are putting lives at risk by stealing gas pipes from outside homes.  

Residents, including pensioners on Queens Park, Mold, fear they are being put at risk of gas leaks and explosions after a spate of thefts of gas piping and overflow pipes.

Resident June Collins said residents were getting worried after 10 thefts in just a week, the latest on Wednesday night.

She said: “It is unnerving to think that people can come on your property and steal without you knowing about it. My overflow pipe was stolen.

Letters from Flintshire Neighbourhood Watch have been sent out to residents warning them to be on their guard and anyone seeing suspicious behaviour is urged to contact the police.

Resident Graham Warburton said: “I came home to find pipes missing. The boiler works but they have taken the pipe off. If the pipe was full of gas there could have been an explosion. Residents are worried about this.”

Pensioner Ronald Sandall, another victim, said residents were getting worried about the dangers being caused by the thefts.

He said: “It is coming up to Christmas and thieves want money, but it’s wrong especially as we are pensioners.”

A spokesperson for Flintshire Neighbourhood Watch said the spate of thefts of copper piping in the last week was “extremely hazardous.”

Tony Glover from the Energy Network Association, said: “We are now seeing gas pipes being stolen. This can lead to danger in the gas infrastructure caused by gas leaks.

“This could be potentially quite awful, not just in terms of disruption to the service of gas. There is a danger to the safety of the public and staff when they attend to repair the damage. There is a risk of sparks and explosions caused by a gas leak.”

On Monday a campaign was launched by the Association of Chief Police Officers for extra powers to clamp down on scrap metal dealers who do not abide to industry standards.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Crowther said: “With the high price of metal on world markets at the moment, thieves who sell to willing or unwitting dealers are getting good returns for their criminal activity. This is a crime which really impacts on people’s everyday lives.”

Anyone with information should call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers confidentially on 0800 555 111.