Warwickshire County Council has warned the public to be vigilant following a recent increase of thefts of road drain covers in the county.
Since June, there have been recorded thefts of 400 drain covers from roads across Warwickshire – causing a major road safety issue and costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds to replace.
The council said its primary concern is the safety of road users, particularly cyclists who risk being seriously injured if their wheels get caught in the uncovered holes.
The thefts have already cost Warwickshire taxpayers £90,000 to make them safe and replace stolen covers.
Cllr Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transport, said: “Gully thefts present a danger to road users and replacing stolen drain covers costs the taxpayer a huge amount of money.
“We need public support in reporting any suspicious incidents so that thefts can be prevented and the offenders brought to justice.
"Our latest information indicates the offenders may be wearing fluorescent jackets and using unmarked vehicles, and we are asking the public to report any activity they see where people appear to be working around drain covers so that we can check whether they are supposed to be working on the highway."