THOUSANDS of people could be left without gas for days in central Scotland as a result of a mains failure.

Some 8000 properties are affected, with gas infrastructure company SGN saying it will have to go door-to-door to turn off supplies in affected properties due to safety reasons.

Temperatures in the area have been sitting at below zero and are expected to remain low over the coming days.

Falkirk Council warned schools may have to be closed, and advised it would be working with SGN to care for vulnerable people affected.

The company said it would be providing electric heaters and cookers for the elderly, disabled, chronically sick and those with young children. The products will be available from Camelon Community Centre on Falkirk’s Abercrombie Street.

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The company said a fault in a piece of equipment that regulates pressure in the gas network was to blame.

“While we repair the gas governor, we need to visit all affected properties to turn off your gas supply at the meter and we’ll need access to your home to turn off your gas supply,” SGN said.

“It will take us some days to reach everyone so if you do need to pop out or go to work, it would be helpful for us if you’re able to leave a key with a neighbour.

“With so many homes affected, it’s likely you could be without your gas supply for several days.

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause. We’re doing all we can to restore gas supplies to the area as soon as possible.”

Falkirk Council said it had alerted housing and social work services to be on standby: “We have a list of vulnerable people in the area so we know where people who may have the most difficulty are,” a spokesperson said, adding all care homes in the affected areas are fine.