Residents in Maitland’s west have been warned to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour around their water meters after hundreds of properties in the Aberglasslyn area had their meters vandalised.
Hunter Water said up to 300 properties in Aberglassyn have had their water meter damaged, with the meter tap and spindle removed by thieves.
The company’s Chief Customer Service Officer Jeremy Bath said while the motivation for the vandalism is unknown, spates have recently occurred both locally and in Sydney.
“Water meters have been vandalised for a range of reasons in the past, including malicious acts like kicking them over, or stealing them to sell to scrap metal dealers.
“Hunter Water encourages the community to be on the lookout for any suspicious behaviour around the front of their properties, particularly after dark, and to report anything they observe to the police.
“While Hunter Water workers may be active in your area, including meter readers, they will always carry identification and will show this to a resident upon request,” Mr Bath.
Hunter Water will continue to repair the 300 metres damaged in the immediate McKeachies Run area as a one time, good will gesture. The company has written to affected residents.
A spokesperson for Hunter Water said the act has taken the organisation by surprise, particularly at how widespread the vandalism was.
Hunter Water’s Customer Contract states that faults to a water meter caused by willful or negligent damage is the responsibility of the property owner, which means customers affected by vandalism will need to engage a private plumber for repairs.
Mr Bath said that if a customer is the target of vandalism, they should report the matter to the police and engage a plumber to complete repairs.
Fairfax Media reported last week how hundreds of residents had fallen victim to the vandalism, some paying up to $300 for plumbers to carry out the repairs.