BURGLARS flooded three homes as they made a bungled attempt to steal metal from an empty house.
As they ripped out fittings at a terrace home in Poulton Road, Fleetwood, water poured into the property and the two neighbouring houses – but they still couldn’t carry off a copper boiler they had targeted.
The flood damage – caused on Wednesday night – could run into thousands of pounds.
Neighbour John Scott, 48, said: “This is just a nightmare.
“We didn’t hear anything in the night.
“I came down at 7.15am to get ready to go to work. I heard water and thought someone had left a tap running.
“But the carpet was soaked and there was water pouring from the ceiling.
“We have spent thousands of pounds on this house. It will cost a fortune to put right.”
Although the first floor was unaffected water ran down the walls of the lounge, making plaster bulge and cutting off the electricity supply.
Furniture was saturated, ceiling tiles were destroyed and a large area of laminate flooring was damaged.
Mr Scott was in the house with wife Sharon at the time but their daughter Abigail, 13, was out at a friends.
On the other side of the burgled house were Harry and Helen Bailey.
Mr Bailey, 62, said: “I am a terrible sleeper because of back problems and I was up at 4am but I didn’t hear anything.
“But my wife got up at 7am and discovered what had happened.
“She can normally hear anything but she didn’t detect anything in the night. I think they have just snipped the pipes.”
Water poured down the walls of Mr and Mrs Bailey’s lounge and saturated the carpet.
Mr Bailey added: “I just don’t know how much it’s going to cost to put right.”
In their bid to get high-value metal items, the burglars got a water heater and some piping but abandoned the copper boiler.
They had entered by an insecure rear window.
Insp Steve Bell of Fleetwood police said: “This is a terrible crime in which people have had severe damage to their properties through no fault of their own.
“People committing such crimes should be aware it is still a burglary offence, even though the property is empty, and carries severe penalties.
“I would ask people to be on the lookout for suspicious activity around any empty property and to contact the police immediately.
“We would rather waste our time attending than miss a possible crime.”
Anyone with information about the burglary should contact PC Oliver Maughan on (01253) 876611, call the new non-emergency number 101 or call Crimestoppers, on 0800 555111.