THIEVES smashed their way into a house where they stole water pipes and a gas meter.
At 11.22am on Wednesday, February 6, police received a report that an empty house had been broken into at Byron Street, Southwick.
Officers attended and discovered thieves had forced their way into the property and taken water and gas pipes and the gas meter.
Neighbourhood Inspector Tony Carty said: “The thieves acted without any concern for the safety of the residents living in the street, who had to be evacuated for a short time while the gas supply was made safe.
“Tampering with a gas meter is an incredibly dangerous and stupid thing to do and could lead to serious, if not fatal injuries. Individuals who do this not only endanger themselves but also pose a serious danger to other people.
“As a result of this burglary the police, fire service, British Gas and Northumbria Water were all called to the scene and local buses travelling on Southwick road had to be diverted for a short while. This mindless act cost thousand of pounds to the victim,emergency services and the utility companies.”
Anyone with any information or who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the vicinity is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191.