With 12 more water meters being stolen from commercial properties in Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads South on the weekend, Tweed Shire Council’s water manager, Anthony Burnham, warns the felons they risk a watery grave.
No, that’s not the penalty for stealing council property, it is Mr Burnham’s professional view, as water pipes are often used to earth electrical installations.
‘Electrical contractors will often use water pipes as an additional point to earth the electrics of a property. People cutting these metal pipes, like we’ve seen with the recent spate of stolen water meters, subject themselves to the risk of electrocution which could result in serious injury or even death,’ he said, turning up the pressure against the wet ones.
‘This is a senseless crime. Not only are water meters of little value to anyone except Council, but these thieves are putting their lives at unnecessary risk,’ Mr Burnham said.
The weekend’s pilfering has plumbed new depths, taking the total number of stolen meters to 17 in Tweed shire and a further three in Lismore in just over a week.
Council officers have reported all stolen water meters to the police and are assisting them in their investigations.
‘We’re also in touch with scrap metal dealers, who have been 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,’ Mr Burnham said.
Ten commercial water meters were reported stolen from the Murwillumbah industrial estate on Saturday night. These meters were taken from Buchanan Street, Tweed Valley Way, Quarry Road and Lundberg Drive. A further two were stolen from Machinery Drive in Tweed Heads South on Sunday night.
Community members who might have seen any suspicious behaviour in Murwillumbah or 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
‘This is incredibly disappointing. Replacing each stolen meter will cost Council at least $3,000 and that cost will ultimately be borne by ratepayers,’ Mr Burnham said.