Warning to drivers as 100 drain covers stolen in five days in Walsall
Metal thieves have struck in Walsall, stealing more than 100 drain covers in less than a week.
Police are appealing for information and warned the roads could now be a danger to drivers.
It follows a similar spate of thefts eight months ago when 19 drain covers were stolen in the borough in 48 hours – costing Walsall Council £3,000.
Areas affected this week include Willenhall, Bloxwich, Shelfield, Aldridge and Darlaston.
A police spokesman said: "Roadside drains can be over a metre deep and missing covers present a potential risk to the safety of road users and pedestrians, particularly at night when they are not as easily visible.
"Tarmac are working as quickly as they can to make each location safe.
"The number of affected drains far exceeds the number of drain covers Tarmac would ordinarily keep in stock at the depot so they are liaising with suppliers to source and install replacement covers as soon as possible.
"Details of these individuals and the vehicle involved have been provided to West Midlands Police who are investigating the thefts.
"Trading Standards are also contacting scrap metal merchants and asking that they be vigilant and mindful of the thefts."
Councillor Adrian Andrew, deputy leader of Walsall Council, said the problem is "costly".
He said: “Since the weekend we’ve received reports of over 100 drain cover thefts.
"This is a dangerous and costly problem and we are working with West Midlands Police who are investigating the thefts.
“Our first priority is to ensure that all affected locations are made safe and arrangements are being made for replacement covers to be installed as soon as possible. It is anticipated that the cost of replacing the stolen covers will run to tens of thousands of pounds.
“We would encourage members of the public to help us ensure the safety of highway users by reporting any missing manhole or drain covers to our Contact Centre on 01922 650000.
“If you have any information which would assist, including any home CCTV footage, please contact West Midlands Police via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk between 8am to midnight, call 101 anytime or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
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