Great drain robbery: Hundreds of cast iron covers stolen as wave of crime spreads across UK

Covers ripped from ground can be sold at scrap metal merchants for around £20 a piece

<p>Police are appealing for information after thieves stole more than 160 drain covers in the space of just four days - amid fears of a national trend</p>

Police are appealing for information after thieves stole more than 160 drain covers in the space of just four days - amid fears of a national trend

Britain is in the grip of a great drain robbery with hundreds of cast iron covers being stolen from towns and cities to be sold for scrap.

More than 160 street drain covers were stolen from one town alone in the space of just four days earlier this month.

Brazen criminals snatched the covers, which can weigh more than 113kg each, off streets in Doncaster, South Yorks.

The drain covers, which are usually made of cast iron, can be sold at scrap metal merchants for around £20 a piece.

Cllr Mark Houlbrook, from Doncaster Council, said such thefts can cause “serious harm and injury to drivers, pedestrians, children and cyclists.”

He added: “Incidents like these can also end up costing the taxpayer thousands as we have to ensure each gully is safe, as well as paying for replacement covers.”

The 160 drainage covers were stolen from the streets in Thorne, Barnby Dun, Edenthorpe and Moorends, South Yorkshire between 14 and 17 January, police said.

The thefts follow a similar trend around the UK, where crooks have carted off drain covers, particularly targeted rural communities.

Thieves struck in the villages of Jubilee Bridge, Cropthorne, Wyre Piddle in Worcester just before Christmas last year and made off with 200 drain covers.

Last February, at least 50 drain covers were taken in a raid around the streets of York, which the council branded a “shocking and incredibly dangerous act of vandalism.”

And reports emerged on 31 January of another theft in Basildon, Essex, after a four-year-old narrowly avoided falling down an exposed drainage hole.

Officers from South Yorkshire Police, alongside Doncaster Council’s Highways Team, are now appealing for the public’s help to catch thieves operating in the area.

Inspector Alison Carr from South Yorkshire Police’s Doncaster East Neighbourhood Team said: “The theft of gully covers is a serious issue that can cause real problems within local communities.

“Unfortunately, reports of gully cover thefts are on the rise, and whilst there have been reports of these offences across the town, nearly two-thirds of these thefts have taken place in Doncaster East.

“We are currently pursuing a number of lines of enquiry and investigations are very much ongoing to locate those carrying out these thefts.

SWNS

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