Spate of drain cover thefts in Welwyn Garden City sparks safety fears
PUBLISHED: 10:37 09 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:37 09 December 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2017
Thieves have been costing the public purse thousands of pounds by stealing drain covers in Welwyn Garden City.
Herts County Council confirmed that at least 17 had gone missing recently.
Fourteen of these have since been replaced and the other three are due to be replaced in the next fortnight.
Panshanger resident Maggie Scott contacted the county council because she was concerned for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists after seeing missing covers in Bericot Way.
Covers were also stolen in nearby Lysander Way on the same housing estate and more covers are known to have gone missing in Herns Lane.
Maggie, who is retired, said: “I couldn’t fault Highways for their response, but someone needs to find out who’s doing this.
“It is so dangerous.
“The holes are big enough for a child to fall in, which worries the life out of me.
“If you’re walking at night, it’s horrendous.”
Maggie’s neighbour Lynette Stuart has noticed missing covers when she is out running and cycling.
Lynette said: “In Lysander Way there are houses on both sides of the road.
“Whether they have taken these overs when the street lights go off, I don’t know.”
A council spokesman said: “These are voids in the carriageway so they are treated as emergencies.
“We replace them with a permanent plastic material which is cut to the exact size on site.
“We will monitor the performance of the new lids both for their robustness and their hydraulic performance.
“If immediate repairs are not possible we will make road users aware of the hazard through the installation of barriers and cones.”
The drain covers cost £250 and it takes at minimum of two people to go out and replace them.
The council spokesman added: “We would speculate that [they are being stolen] for their scrap value.
“It is important to note that legitimate scrap metal dealers are legally required to know the origin of any scrap metal they accept.
“People who engage in this activity are illegally removing covers, which can cause great harm to road users.
“We would urge any residents who witness this theft to immediately report it to the police.”