A spate of copper thefts have led to a major gas leak in a Lincolnshire town.
Since Wednesday morning there have been 11 reported incidents of external central heating piping being cut and taken from properties in Skegness.
The leak was caused after piping was stolen from a building converted into flats in Lincoln Road.
A number of the targeted properties, on Lyndhurst Avenue, Tarran Way, Queens Road and Dutton Avenue, were unoccupied with the mains supply disconnected.
Sgt Andy Hickinbottom, of Lincolnshire Police, said: "In a bid to make a few pounds from selling the copper, these irresponsible thieves have put the lives of many residents in danger and posed a real risk of a major explosion.
"Metal theft is not a victimless crime; significant damage is caused to the property which costs the householder a great deal in time and money and the consequences of a gas explosion resulting in injury or loss of life cannot be measured."
Rising prices have made copper piping increasingly attractive to thieves.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police.