A recent bout of drain cover thefts in Kenley, Croydon has cost the council almost £6,000 in replacing the covers, stolen for scrap metal.
The iron drain covers were stolen in the early hours of the morning on the 12th and 13th last week. Since then the council has been using temporary plastic covers to make the almost 20 uncovered holes safe, and the gratings themselves have gradually started being replaced.
Councillor Phil Thomas, cabinet member for environment and highways, explains: “The recent increase in scrap metal values has given us a real headache…The frustrating thing is that it costs us about ten times as much to replace a cover as these people make from the scrap.”
Thomas went on to explain that the council will “ensure that the new ones we put in are made from a less valuable material and they are also designed to be a lot harder to remove.
“Apart from the cost these crimes represent a serious resk to the public. We make the holes safe as soon as we can, but there have been cases in the country of people being either badly injured or even killed because of missing drain covers.”
As reported by ELL, in one recent case in Lewisham, Shaun Trip, 41, fell down a drain that had been left uncovered by the council for 8 days. During the fall he suffered a deep cut to the leg, reaching his bone, and was signed off work for 3 weeks of recovery.
At the time Tripp commented: “Anybody skinnier would be straight down there. The hole was full of water. Imagine if a child or an older person fell down there; they would have drowned.”
Last week a resident of Northwood Road, Croydon witnessed two men stealing the gratings, but they had escaped in a car by the time she had reported the theft.