VANDALS stole a length of copper piping designed to extract carbon monoxide from a boiler in a family’s home.

The crooks took a metre of the exit pipe from the front of the house in John Mace Road, Colchester.

The pipe vented the poisonous gas, which is given off by the boiler, outside rather than inside the house.

It is worth just a couple of pounds if sold for scrap.

Kerry Pearson, Kevin Rusiecki and their daughter Lauren Pearson, nine, could have inhaled the poisonous gas.

Mr Rusiecki, 44, said: “They call it the silent killer and that could have been us.

“They had no idea what they were doing. They could have killed us.”

Read the full story in today's Gazette.