At least four Council-owned water meters were stolen from commercial properties in Tweed Heads South on the weekend, prompting Council to issue a safety warning to those responsible.
Manager Water and Wastewater – Operations Brie Jowett said 40-50mm water meters were of little value to anyone except Council and the thieves were putting their lives at unnecessary risk.
“Electrical contractors have historically used water pipes as an additional point to earth the electrics of a property. People cutting these metal pipes, like we’ve seen with these recent thefts, subject themselves to the risk of electrocution which could result in serious injury or even death,” Mrs Jowett said.
“We know of four thefts so far which have been reported to Council as the customers have come to work to find they have no water – there may be more.”
The weekend’s incidents closely resemble a spate of water meter thefts in June 2014, when 17 water meters were stolen from commercial properties in Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads South over the course of a week.
Council officers have reported all water meters stolen over the weekend to the police and are assisting them in their investigations.
“We’re also in touch with scrap metal dealers, who will be provided with serial numbers for the water meters, so they too can assist in tracking these stolen meters down and ensure the perpetrators are caught.
“It’s disappointing as replacing each stolen meter will cost Council at least $3,000 and that cost will ultimately be borne by ratepayers,” Mrs Jowett said.
Community members who might have seen any suspicious behaviour in the Greenway Drive industrial area at Tweed Heads South are urged to contact their nearest police station or phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Council is also arranging for increased security patrols of business areas and is investigating what CCTV footage is available.