Drain cover thefts put bikers at risk

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Motorcyclists’ lives are being put at risk by large scale thefts of manhole covers, it was claimed today.

At least 50,000 covers have been stolen in a year by thieves cashing in on rising scrap metal prices, according to estimates from councils.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA) said a motorcyclist could be killed if he failed to see the hazard in time. “It’s definitely a potential risk to life,” he said. 

In Northampton, 20 covers were stolen on Tuesday alone. Since April, 268 have gone missing in Surrey.  The area around Warwickshire saw 220 go missing in four nights in April. In July, 42 drain covers were stolen in ten days from the Slough area while 20 disappeared in one night from around the Accrington area.

Peterborough lost 15 covers in June. 

Paul Bettison, chairman of LGA’s environment board, blamed the “ever rising price of scrap metal”.

“It is disgusting that mindless thieves are stooping this low for scrap metal,” he added. “This thoughtless criminal act is no only selfish but could lead to serious accidents.”

Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell