From time to time we see an increase in the theft of drain covers, manhole covers and gully covers. This is usually related to a peak in scrap metal prices as the demand for metal from places like India and China increaes.
Ironically, the scrap value of these covers is just a few pounds each and yet the cost of replacement by the council runs into 10’s of £1000’s. This cost is ultimately met by tax payers like you and I and can lead to other local resources being cut due to the lack of funds being available.
Midlothian are currently seeing a massive increase in the theft of such covers and recently have had more than 100 covers stolen. As well has having financial implications for the council, there is also impact it has upon road users.
Cyclist are particularly vulnerable to this type of theft, as missing Gully Covers – those that take rain water away from the kerb side – are sometimes only spotted as missing when it’s too late to avoid them. This can easily lead to personal injury, all through the greed of some thoughtless individuals.
in the case of the Midlothian thefts, the council have resorted to installing hinged covers to make theft more difficult, as theves have perfected the art of removing the old style covers in just a few minutes. The thing thsat makes spotting the theft harder, is that the thieves often dress up as council workers to avoid suspicion. Police have urged the public to contact them if they see ‘council workers’ working out of hours on drains.
As a short term measure, cones have been placed around any missing drain covers, so do beware. At he very least you will damage a wheel if you hit one and could do far more damage if you are unlucky.