Police had twice visited Leverington bungalow following copper thefts, the last time just 12 hours before home exploded

POLICE revealed today they had twice been called out to investigate metal thefts from the Leverington bungalow destroyed in a gas explosion less than 12 hours after their last visit.

“We attended the premises twice over the weekend,” a police spokesman confirmed today.

“On Saturday afternoon officers went to the home following reports that offenders had broken in and stolen a copper tank. They also took other items including a washing machine.”

The spokesman said this burglary had occurred sometime between March 1 and March 10. Police had gone to the bungalow following a request from the tenant who had moved out whilst his home was undergoing modernisation.

“We then received a second report, this time on Sunday, that offenders had again entered the property and removed copper piping sometime between 2.30pm on Saturday and 9.30am the following morning.

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“This had resulted in a small water leak so we contacted the owners, Roddons Housing Association, to attend and fix the leak.”

This explains the visit by a Roddons plumber later that day but it is not clear if any work was done.

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Roddons has been unable to confirm but this card left at the bungalow in St Leonard’s Road at 1.46pm showed a plumber had indeed called but left when he couldn’t gain access.

The police spokesman added: “It is not clear if there was a further break-in which led to the gas leak and subsequent explosion or if it was the result of the theft overnight from Saturday to Sunday- we are still investigating.”

The tenant of the bungalow, known locally as Terry, was living elsewhere whilst his home was being renovated.

Neighbour Ian Gowler said: “He would have been dead if he was in there, the place is totally wrecked.”

Roddons has promised an updated statement later.

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