SEVERAL flats in Basingstoke have been left without gas and electricity after thieves stole live gas pipes from outside their properties overnight.

At least 12 flats in Sinclair Drive were affected by the theft that happened in the early hours of Monday, February 19.

The theft was discovered only after residents realised their gas and electricity were cut off upon waking up.

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"This has impacted us a lot," said Phani Narra, one of the affected residents.

"With a live gas pipe getting cut, an explosion could have happened.

"I woke up at 7am and saw that there was no gas. So I checked with my neighbours and they were also facing the same issue. We went outside and saw that all our gas pipes had been cut.”

Basingstoke Gazette: Plastic insulation of copper pipes found outside the flatsPlastic insulation of copper pipes found outside the flats (Image: Contributed)

He added that there are no CCTV cameras in Sinclair Drive and it would be impossible to catch the culprits.

“I don’t know why they did this, because as far as I know, they wouldn’t get more than £50 for these pipes. But it would cost each of us £450 to get them fixed which is ridiculous.”

Thankfully Mr Narra’s gas has been restored as his landlord kindly helped get it fixed as early as possible.

“But there are other residents who are still without gas. They are trying to find a deal because it is expensive to fix. The property management services confirmed that they wouldn’t cover the cost. Instead, they asked us to check with the insurance company. But the insurance process would be longer.”

Basingstoke Gazette: Copper pipes were stolen from outside the flatsCopper pipes were stolen from outside the flats (Image: Contributed)

A police spokesperson confirmed the theft.

They said: “We received reports that a number of copper gas pipes were stolen from outside buildings on Sinclair Drive at sometime between 11pm on Sunday, February 18, and 7.30am on Monday, February 19.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact 101, quoting the reference number 44240072564.”

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Ward councillor Arun Mummalaneni said it is a distressing incident.

Basingstoke Gazette: Cllr Arun MummalaneniCllr Arun Mummalaneni (Image: Contributed)

He said: “This deliberate criminal damage has left innocent apartment owners and occupiers without access to essential amenities such as heating and hot water. Each household is facing an estimated financial burden of approximately £500 due to this reprehensible act.

"Despite immediate efforts to seek assistance from relevant authorities, including the police and gas supplier, the affected residents find themselves grappling with the aftermath of this incident without recourse.

“As their elected councillor, I stand firmly in solidarity with the residents of Sinclair Drive during this challenging time.”