CRIMINALS have gone on a spate of copper thieves across St Helens sparking safety fears for affected residents.
Police and council chiefs are concerned about potential gas leaks caused by thieves plundering piping from domestic gas meters.
Councillor Sue Murphy, cabinet member for family intervention and safer communities, said: “Apart from putting their own lives in danger, the reckless actions of these individuals are putting innocent people at risk.”
Thieves have recently raided properties in Meadow Lane and Broad Oak Road in Parr and Hall Street in the town centre, stripping domestic meters of their valuable copper.
Coun Murphy added: “The risk of gas leaks and potential ignition is very real and those responsible for the thefts need to think long and hard about the possible consequences of their actions.”
St Helens police are increasing their efforts to deter copper thieves with extra visits to local scrapyards.
Chief Insp Keith McLachlan said: “The risks that people take to obtain the copper are out of all proportion to any potential reward.
“Replacing piping and meters costs thousands of pounds, but the value of copper is negligible in comparison.
“We will be stepping up our enforcement activity, particularly with regard to the regular visits we make to local scrap metal dealers.”
n Anyone with information should contact Sgt Matt Drennan on 0151 709 6010.