East Ham resident latest victim of copper theft

Police say that scrap metal crime is on the rise as flat in Kempton Road is targeted

Residents of a road in East Ham were put at risk after copper piping was stolen from outside a flat, causing a gas danger and costing the landlord hundred of pounds.

Around two inches of copper piping leading to an external gas box was stolen by theives around 7.30pm on Monday night (July 10) leaving the tenant in Kempton Road without heating or hot water.

The tenant, Baji [surname to come], said that the property was occupied at the time but no one heard the theft going on.

Baji said: “We did not notice it happening at all. It’s outside the main door of the house with the gas box.

“We turned on the gas and it didn’t work so we called British Gas who arrived about 10 minutes later and it was only then that we were told that the copper pipe had been cut away.”

Furious landlady Amy Redston told the Recorder that the crime caused serious damage, costing her financially and endangering the residents of Kempton Road.

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Amy said that the theft had put “the lives of everyone in that area at risk” and added “they will get �10 tops for the bits of copper piping they took.”

Newham police say that they have noticed an increase in the number of scrap metal thefts.

Newham Borough Commander Simon Letchford said: “This is a desperate crime, but can have a huge impact on homes and businesses, with copper piping going missing during burglaries, causing large scale damage or even older vehicles being stolen to be scrapped for money.

“Newham police are cracking down on this crime by engaging with scrapyards and stopping vans with such metal in the back.”

Police recommended that all unoccupied premises and industrial sites are locked and secured and visited on a frequent basis, adding that homes, churches and schools had been targeted in the past.

East Ham fire station confirmed that they had also seen an increase in scrap metal crime and recommended that residents enclose exposed piping if they could.

An East Ham firefighter said: “These things cut quite easily. You can’t really protect these things completely unless you close it up.”