Crooks swipe 200 drain covers

Police and community leaders are urging residents to be on the lookout for thieves targeting metal drain covers.

More than 200 of the covers have been stolen in North Lanarkshire in the last three weeks – creating a hazard for pedestrians and cars.

The problem is happening across the authority, and residents are being asked to report missing covers or suspicious behaviour.

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Graham MacKay, the council’s head of roads and transportation, said: “Removing the cover leaves a substantial hole at the kerbside which could injure pedestrians or damage car wheels.

“I am in discussions with Police Scotland about the problem, and to minimise this risk until the cover is replaced, we place sandbags and traffic cones at the drain.”

Councillor James Coyle, planning and transportation convener, added: “Criminals are targeting the drain covers to sell for scrap, but are leaving behind a catalogue of problems for residents and the council.

“This is not only dangerous but costs a significant amount of money - at least £50,000 - which would be better spent on local services and facilities.”

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In a consultation earlier this year it was revealed that the cost of scrap metal theft in Scotland in 2011 was £7.5million.

New legislation is currently going through the Scottish Parliament to stop metal dealers accepting cash for scrap.

To report a missing drain cover call 01698 403110 and to report anybody seen removing a cover or acting suspiciously call Police Scotland on 101.