HOMES and businesses have been evacuated after a gas main was damaged in Ryhope.
A number of residents were told to leave their homes after reports of a strong smell of gas in Burdon Lane.
Workers from Northern Gas Networks are at the scene near The Guide Post pub, which has also been evacuated.
A 200-metre section of Burdon Lane has been closed from the junction with Ryhope Street South.
A spokeswoman said the leak was caused by third-party damage to a low-pressure gas main.
“We have a team of engineers working in the street,” she added.
“A number of homes have been evacuated in the street and a road closure put in place.”
John Doran, who runs Breeze Dental clinic, said the practice has had to cancel appointments for patients as a result.
“We noticed quite a strong small of gas,” he told the Echo. “The gas board has now evacuated a couple of homes opposite and the pub next door.”
Mr Doran suspects the leak could have something to do with ongoing roadworks in the area.
“They’ve been working on the roads around here for weeks and weeks,” he added. “They started working on the main road today.”
Northumbria Police officers are at the scene to provide reassurance and ensure evacuated properties are not targeted by criminals.
A spokesman for Sunderland City Council said the authority is aware of the situation and working with partners to monitor what is happening.