Mystery of Welwyn Garden City’s missing manhole covers

A SPATE of manhole cover thefts is endangering lives, highways officials and police are warning.

Drains and sewers in WGC were left exposed and the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists put at “major risk” after thieves snatched around 30 metal covers.

Each cover costs taxpayers roughly �300 to replace – so around �6,000 has literally gone down the drain.

The mysterious thefts – which took place over the course of a few weeks – mainly occurred in hotspots Panshanger Drive, Moors Walk, Haldens, Bushey Green and Marsden Close.

Panshanger resident Keith Palmer told the Welwyn Hatfield Times he had spotted that no fewer than nine had been pinched in Moors Walk.

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“I think we may have a manhole/drain cover thief in the area,” said Mr Palmer.

“This is a busy cut-through to the local shops and the missing drain covers leave gaping holes in the road, exposing cyclists and pedestrians to the danger of a serious accident.

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“Replacing the missing covers must be costly to the local authorities.”

It is believed thieves steal the cast-iron manhole covers to then sell on for their scrap metal value.

A Hertfordshire Highways spokeswoman said the thefts posed an extremely dangerous risk to innocent people.

She said: “We have had reports of stolen manhole covers on five roads in WGC in the past few weeks.

“Once reported to us, we made the areas safe by putting cones and barriers around the holes and have ordered replacement covers.

“Removing these covers poses a major risk to public safety, particularly for cyclists and pedestrians, not to mention the cost to taxpayers for replacing them.

“We are working closely with the police to tackle this issue.”

Report missing covers to Herts Highways on 0300 123 4047 or online by clicking the link above.

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