SCRAP metal thieves stole TWENTY drain covers from around the Woodnook area of Accrington in just one day.
The rising price of scrap metal is thought to be behind the raid, leaving Lancashire County Council tax payers with a £6,000 bill.
The cast-iron grate tops were stolen on Sunday – the latest in a series of thefts of metal grids and drain covers in the area.
Police say lead from church roofs and railway signal cables are also common targets for thieves.
County Councillor Janice Hanson, Cabinet member for highways and planning, said: “This type of theft is doubly irresponsible as not only does it cost us thousands to put right but it also leaves dangerous holes in the road.
“The good news is that members of the public are responding to the publicity and are far more vigilant.
“There was a time when they just thought it was the council as the thieves often turn up in white vans or pickups and wear typical roadworker clothes.
“The thieves need to know that people are now watching out for them and will report them to the police.
“Next time the stolen items could be being unloaded at the police station rather than a scrap dealer’s.”
All tops are now being replaced with lightweight ductile iron fittings which are harder to remove and have a low scrap metal value.
Councillor Hanson added: “If anyone has any information we would urge them to contact us or the police – particularly if a scrapyard has been approached by someone trying to weigh in the items.”
Anyone with information should call the police on 51212 or Lancashire County Council on 0845 0530011.
SINCE April this year around 150 drain covers have been stolen from Hyndburn, costing around £200 each. Areas targeted most include the Balfour Street area of Great Harwood, the Harvey Street area of Oswaldtwistle and the Lower Antley Street, Nelson Street and Royds Street area of Woodnook, Accrington. Around 30 manhole covers belonging to United Utilities have also been stolen from around the borough, each costing around £450 to replace.