A Tingwall pensioner got a shock last week when she discovered a gas bottle which was stored outside her home had been stolen.
The culprit did try to cover their tracks though – by replacing it with an old bottle!
Jeannie Sandison, 67, noticed the bottle had been changed when she was putting her rubbish bags out last Thursday (see Readers’ Views, pages 10-11).
Mrs Sandison had bought a gas cooker to use in times of emergency, such as power cuts, but has not had cause to use it.
The gas bottle, which she described as “bright red, new and shiny” had thus sat outside her house, good as new, since it had been installed.
Because she had not been using the bottle, she cannot be sure when the switch occurred, but she suspects it was sometime before Christmas and New Year.
She said: “It sat for a couple of years. I’d not been out with the bad weather recently, but last week I went out to put the black bags out and recognised it wasn’t my bottle.”
The current bottle is dirty, dull and – most notably – empty.
Mrs Sandison’s home is detached, situated opposite the Vallafield houses and set back from the road, and not therefore in an optimum position for would-be thieves.
She said that the bottle would only have been properly visible from her driveway, and only accessible through a gate to the back of her house, so someone would have had to enter her grounds to carry out the theft.
A basin which she had placed on top of the gas bottle to protect the top from water had also been moved, alerting her suspicions.
Mrs Sandison said she had been meaning to have a small hut built to house the gas bottle, but due to having to go south for medical treatment had not got round to it.
She said of the theft: “It’s a mystery. I was a bit nervous when I discovered it and I called my son to ask if I should call the police.”
Mrs Sandison said she hadn’t reported the incident as yet in the hope that someone might return the bottle, and that it was the principle of the matter which had bothered her.
She said: “It’s not the value of the gas in the bottle, but the idea that someone has been prowling around my property. If it’s gas first then what’s next? This is the first time anything like this has happened to me. I live alone here, and I’ve never had to lock things up before.”