Horror as children found playing with dangerous gas equipment in Stevenage

A MOTHER has lashed out at a gas company for abandoning dangerous pieces of equipment in a street, after she found a group of children playing with them. Emma Martin, of Lonsdale Road in Stevenage, said she found children playing with a razor-sharp metal

A MOTHER has lashed out at a gas company for abandoning dangerous pieces of equipment in a street, after she found a group of children playing with them.

Emma Martin, of Lonsdale Road in Stevenage, said she found children playing with a razor-sharp metal pipe cutter, old and new gas pipes, and heavy metal valves and joints next to her house at the weekend.

She said workmen for Gas Alliance - a partnership between National Grid and utility company Skanska-McNicholas Plc - had finished work in the area and moved on, but had failed to take the various bits of kit with them.

"I am appalled that such items can be left for our children to play with, that could cause injury or possibly be used as weapons," said Miss Martin. "I found a seven-year-old playing with the pipe cutter and had to take it off her.


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"We all work hard to try and keep our community safe for our children but the gas company obviously has no regard for this."

She said there were also a lot of plastic joints, some still sealed in bags, which had been left lying in the street. "Not only are they littering and putting our children at risk, they are also wasting equipment that we, the consumer, are paying for," she fumed.

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This week Stevenage Borough Council introduced �75 fixed penalty notices for litter louts caught dropping rubbish in the town. Miss Martin, 34, said if such fines applied to workmen "they would be more careful in future", but the council has confirmed that the on-the-spot fines only cover low-level offences.

Miss Martin has removed the dangerous items from the street, storing them safely until someone from Gas Alliance comes to collect them. She is also lodging a formal complaint with the company.

A spokesman for National Grid Gas said: "National Grid Gas has no record of a complaint with regard to this issue as we would have taken immediate action to remove the items.

"National Grid Gas continually monitors its sites to ensure that working areas are kept tidy and as of today's date we have had no complaints from Hertfordshire County Council, Stevenage Borough Council or the police.

"We would urge residents to report any suspicious activity around our sites to the police. If you have any questions or concerns about our work, or see any abandoned equipment which you believe may belong to us, please call our helpline number on 0800 096 5678.

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