The cost of replacing vital firefighting equipment stolen from a tower block was more than 10 times what scrap metal thieves likely made from their haul according to Dorset Echo.
Dorset Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) said lives were being put at risk after it was discovered fire safety equipment was being ripped out of the county’s tower blocks.
Firefighters issued the warning to landlords last month and are working with the police to track down the culprits.
These valves, vital for quick access to water in the event of a high-rise blaze, are being sold on the scrap metal black market, it is believed.
The material used for the valves, gun metal, has a scrap value of just £2.20 per kilo. So each dry riser stolen is probably netting thieves around £20.
DFRS crew manager Martin Mansbridge said without the dry risers firefighters would need to run hoses all the way up through a building to fight a fire.
“This could take more time and ultimately costs lives,” he stressed.
The latest theft in the east of the county is the second of its kind reported, fuelling fears that this type of crime – already a major issue in London – is spreading outwards from the capital.
Mr Mansbridge explained: “A dry riser is a pipe running up through a building with outlets which allows firefighters to quickly get water to where it is needed to fight the fire.
“They are an essential part of our firefighting tactics.
“We are advising owners and managing agents to carry out regular inspections and where appropriate fit anti-tamper bolts and welded nuts to deter thieves.
“We are working with Dorset Police and local scrapyards to ensure this crime is not repeated and the thieves are caught.”