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GULLY COVER THEFTS SPELL DANGER

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A spate of thefts of metal gully covers across Stockton Borough could lead to serious accidents warns Stockton Coun...
A spate of thefts of metal gully covers across Stockton Borough could lead to serious accidents warns Stockton Council who are asking residents to help catch the culprits.

In the past year, more than 160 gully covers, which protect drains at the kerbside, have been stolen from the area - 50 in the last month alone. An unusual commodity, it is thought that the covers have been targeted as they may carry a resale scrap value.

Steve Nelson, the council's cabinet member for environment, said: 'The thefts are not only irresponsible but are highly dangerous, leaving drains open which could lead to a very serious injury to anyone passing over them, on foot or by vehicle.

'We are asking residents to help us catch those responsible and we also need them to let us know where covers have disappeared so we can replace them.'

17 covers disappeared from Lunedale Road in Billingham in one night last week, and two were stolen in Mill Lane, Billingham, which resulted in a car becoming stuck.

The thefts have cost local taxpayers an estimated£11,000 in the past year. The council is now replacing missing covers, where possible, with plastic versions, made from recycled materials, which have little or no resale value.

Council officers are working with the police who have been checking local scrap merchants for leads.

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