Thieves who stole copper pipe in Sunderland have been warned they were putting lives at risk for little financial gain.
Three empty properties in the Leechmere area of the city were targeted on 7 and 8 February.
In each case a few metres of copper pipe were ripped out, causing potentially dangerous gas leaks.
Northern Gas Networks engineers had to cap off the gas supplies to make the area safe.
A spokesman said: "Tampering with gas pipes and equipment poses a real danger and the sad thing is the small amount of copper they removed won't be worth much at all.
"Fortunately this incident ended without major incident but we understand that it's caused a great deal of concern on the estate and brought unnecessary stress and worry to people."