Police Warn Residents of the Danger of Tampering with Meters
By Anne Lewis-Schneider
Bodmin Police in Cornwall have had to issue warnings to the residents in the area about the dangers of tampering with gas and electricity meters after they had to go out to two houses in Wallace Road with Western Power representatives after it had been found that people were fiddling with their meters in a bid to bypass being charged for electricity and gas. It was left up to PC Robin Riches to dispatch officers to accompany the power company after reports that people had been seen messing around with their metering boxes. It is reported that the two cases had indeed been in an effort to pay nothing for their power as both meters had been damaged in the effort to modify them.
It was up to Western Power to return the installations to safety, after which the energy supply companies were called out to replace the meters. Damage done at one residence was so severe that it was unsafe to reconnect and had been a very real fire hazard. The residents then claimed that this kind of illegal connection was happening all over Bodmin and that this was not an isolated event by any means. Pc Riches says that according to residents this is an occurrence that is widespread and definitely on the increase. When meters are breached there is an added risk of either fire or electrocution and children are especially in danger he said. He has appealed for people who have modified their meters to come forward and have them replaced as a matter of urgency.
The digital communications officer of Western Power in Bristol Mr Lian White has said that the process of meter bypassing and tampering with the meters themselves is leaving the residents open to added risks from accidental damage due to electrical faults which can result in fires or even death. Mark Andrews from British Gas has said that they too are finding more and more cases of tampering as people are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the escalating costs of energy and the spike in cold weather has not helped matters as the UK is in its mid-winter. He brings it down to pounds and pence saying that the theft of gas and electricity is adding an average of thirty pounds a year to customer billing as a result.
The Rural Community Council of Cornwall (CRCC) has planned to have several events during Big Energy Saving Week to try and assist those who are not managing to meet their dual fuel obligations. They are doing so with the full support of Dan Rogerson who is the MP for North Cornwall, who has urged those in difficulty to contact him for assistance.
Head Office: EATON HOUSE, STATION ROAD, LEEDS, LS20 8XB Company Registration: 4704157 Vat Registration: 817013852