UPDATE: Thieves caused gas explosion that destroyed Leverington bungalow

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A GAS explosion rocked a quiet street in Leverington in the early hours of this morning (Monday) after thieves stole copper piping from a property.

The explosion in the empty bungalow on St Leonard’s Road ripped the front and roof off the property when a gas leak ignited at around 1.15am.

House that has been destroyed by a gas explosion down St Leonards Rd Leverington

House that has been destroyed by a gas explosion down St Leonards Rd Leverington

It is believed that the bungalow was being renovated and thieves broke in at some point over the weekend to steal the piping, which caused the small gas leak.

Luckily nobody was injured but the explosion shocked residents living nearby who were woken by the blast.

The devastation was clear in the quiet one-way street, with broken glass and tufts of insulation littering the road, nearby cars and properties.

Ian Gowler (pictured) lives in the bungalow joined onto the semi-detached property with Mavis Shailes. He was sleeping in the bedroom next to the dividing wall.

House that has been destroyed by a gas explosion down St Leonards Rd Leverington'Ian Gowler who lives next door

House that has been destroyed by a gas explosion down St Leonards Rd Leverington'Ian Gowler who lives next door

He said: “I heard a loud bang and the wall bowed inwards. Mavis has a shelf with dolls on it on that wall and everything was pelting at me.”

Mavis recently fractured her leg and was on the other side of the house when the explosion happened. She is not very mobile, so Ian had to help her outside.

The couple are currently staying nearby while repairs on the gas main are carried out. It is not yet known what damage was done to their house, although the dividing wall is badly cracked.

Neighbours Maz Gallon and Daisy Watts, who live opposite, were woken up by the explosion.

“There was a massive bang and the whole house shook,” Daisy said. “Amazingly, our five-year-old son Daniel slept through the whole thing.”

The blast sent glass showering across the front of their property and tiny grains were embedded in the paintwork of their silver car. The couple even found a piece of fascia on their roof from the destroyed bungalow.

The fire brigade attended briefly, then had to return after a small fire broke out in the property. National Grid were on the scene promptly and dug up the pavement during the night to shut off the gas supply.

Inspector Robin Sissons from Cambs Police said: “This incident shows how dangerous stealing copper pipes from homes can be.

“This caused an explosion which obliterated the house and it is only sheer luck that the offender responsible, or the people living nearby, was not killed or seriously injured.

“I would also urge people who have properties under renovation to shut off their gas supply when the home is unoccupied.”

Debby Bunn, managing director of Roddons Housing Association, said: “As soon as we were made aware of the explosion we went to the property. Thankfully the house was empty at the time of the explosion and no one was injured. We have been at the site all morning to support our residents in the area. Of course we will be assisting the Fire Brigade and Police with their investigations.”