Police are warning Bodmin residents of the dangers of tampering with gas and electricity meters.
Officers believe the criminal offence is widespread within the town. They discovered people fiddling their meters at two homes last night.
PC Robin Riches said officers accompanied Western Power staff to two addresses in Wallace Road.
He said: “ Both had been tampered with and the meter had been bypassed. Damage had been caused to the meters and they were in a dangerous condition.
“ Western Power made them both safe and the electricity supplier replaced the meters later that evening. One household was left with no power as the meter was so badly damaged that it was not safe to re connect it,’’ said the officer.
PC Riches said: “ The occupants of the addresses told us that there are a lot of people in Bodmin who have done the same. I suspect this is quite widespread.
“ There is obviously the risk of causing a fire or children touching exposed terminals. Western Power have legal power to enter any address in order to check the meter and this can be done whether or not the occupant is present.
“ They report any incidents to us and they will be dealt with for the offence of abstracting electricity.
“ I would like to discourage anyone else from doing it and also encourage people who have done it to own up to it and have their meters replaced,’’ he said.
Anyone with information can call the police anonymously on the non emergency number 101, or they can ring Western Power and report it to them.