A TOTAL of 40 highway gulley grates have been stolen from the Tilehurst and Southcote areas over the last two weeks.
Members of the public are being asked to look out for the culprits, who are believed to be taking the iron grills to sell as scrap, and to report any incidents to Thames Valley Police on 101, or 999 if seen in the act of theft.
Highways Officers are working hard to install temporary protective plates and will replace the missing covers as quickly as possible with a new anti-theft model.
Council staff and police have also been alerted to try and catch the thieves before someone is hurt.
The spate of thefts is estimated to have cost the Council about £20,000 so far and the scrap value of the cast iron is only about 14p per kilogram, which equates to just over £2 per stolen cover.
Councillor Tony Page, Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“The individuals who are taking these gulley covers are being particularly selfish as there could be a serious accident if they are not replaced quickly.
“These thefts are costing Council Tax payers money an average of £500 per theft. What is even more galling is that the value of the scrap metal is very little at just over £2 each per cover! One can only guess what level of moron is stealing these covers.
“I would urge people to keep a look out and call police on 999 if they actually witness someone attempting to take a gulley grate”.
Anyone who spots a missing drain cover should call the Council on (0118) 937 3787.
Notes to Editors
Cllr Tony Page is available for interviews.