RAIDERS stole copper piping from flats for the second time in a month.

The brazen crooks targeted eight flats in Bradford Drive, Mile End, Colchester, cutting away more than 30 boiler overflow pipes.

One resident saw what he thought was workmen with a ladder but they turned out to be thieves.

The pipes are worth about £500. Some had been replaced after thieves struck four weeks ago, stealing 18 pipes on that occasion.

Barry Rudlin, site manager of PMS Leasehold Management, which manages the flats’ communal areas, said steps were being taken to ensure another theft did not occur. He said: “It is very disappointing but it is not unique these days. It just seems to be the society we live in unfortunately.

“We need to encourage people to be more vigilant and be aware of who is at the development and to keep their eyes peeled.”

Mark Laurence, 27, of Bradford Drive, Colchester, said: “They are turning up when they know people aren’t here.

“It is just so sad it has come to people having to steal pipes that are plumbed into the wall to get some money.”

Jace Hoey, 19, of Bradford Drive, Colchester, said: “There should be someone who is walking around and taking care of the complex. We pay so much to live in these flats.”

Martin Goss, a parish and borough councillor for Mile End, said: “I spoke to a couple and asked had they seen anybody and they said they saw blokes with a ladder at exactly the time when the pipes were stolen.

“It was during the day – they were bold as brass.

“If they cut these pipes off, it also becomes a health and safety issue, because the pipes could spurt out boiling water.”

Police have warned anyone who sees suspicious activity, or anyone hanging around the premises, to call police immediately on 999.

Anyone with information about the theft on Monday, July 18, can call 0300 3334444.