£30,000 grate thefts pose public danger - police appeal

Clitheroe Police Station
Clitheroe Police Station

LANCASHIRE County Council is urging people to report thefts of metal grids after scores have been stolen in recent weeks.

Drain covers worth almost £30,000 have been taken from highways across East Lancashire, and the police are now investigating more than 117 missing grates.

Highways engineers have been replacing them as quickly as possible once they are reported, but until the covers are replaced the holes pose a serious danger to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

Daniel Herbert, head of public realm for East Lancashire, said: “We make great efforts to ensure our roads are safe and watch our budget very carefully so it’s extremely frustrating to see the danger and extra cost being caused by these thefts.

“The metal grates have been stolen for their scrap value and the police are already investigating, but we’re asking people to be alert to the possible danger and to report any suspicious activity.

“People should also be careful at the moment and be aware that these grids may be missing in places until they are picked up by our inspectors or reported.”

The thieves are being selective and only taking grates which are not securely attached by hinges – they are being replaced with new iron covers which are secured in place and have a lower scrap value.

PC Simon Grounds, of Lancashire Constabulary, said, “I would urge anyone who thinks they have seen anything suspicious or who might have any information to come forward and contact us.”

Anyone with any information can contact police on 08451 253545 or via the free and confidential Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.