Warning over gas meter tampering
Two hundred homes in Dublin may have by-passed gas meters allowing supplies to be scammed for free.
Gardai revealed that 11 homes across the city have been discovered this month but that the real figure could be 20 times as many.
One man in his 30s was arrested over the scam on July 2 after a house was searched in the Kilmainham area of the city, and a further 10 homes were then raided. A file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to the investigation.
Gardai and Bord Gais Networks have warned that interfering with metered supplies could be regarded as criminal damage and is a significant safety risk.
It is understood a man has been offering to tamper with supplies for householders over the last few months.
Staff from the energy company supported gardai as they checked 11 homes across the city over the last week and in each case gas meters were seized as evidence and replacements fitted.
"A further 200 premises may have had their gas supply tampered with in this way," a Garda spokesman said.
"This scam poses a significant safety concern. Unauthorised interference with the gas poses a significant safety risk to anyone in the premises and indeed the emergency services who may be called to the premises in the event of a fire, or leak of gas."
John Memery, Bord Gais Networks service delivery manager, said public safety is the main concern and the consequences could be fatal.
"We have seen an increase in the prevalence of gas meter tampering throughout the country through an increase in detection of meter tampering and increasing numbers of tip-offs from members of the public," he said.