Grate thefts dangerous
The quick thinking of a Porirua scrap metal dealer has shown thieves are not likely to be able to make an easy dollar from selling stolen drain covers.
Local scrap dealer Ingot Metals has recovered seven cast-iron drain covers from people who have turned up and attempted to sell them as scrap metal, and passed on the would-be sellers’ contact details to police.
Over 30 heavy stormwater drain grates recently disappeared from roadsides across the Wellington region in the space of a week, and Kapi-mana News reported in December last year the occurrence of such thefts locally.
‘‘It is great to see responsible scrap dealers working with councils to keep the community safe by not purchasing sump tops and reporting approaches to police,’’ says Porirua City Council roading manager Geoff Marshall.
In Wellington, the city council is urging residents and motorists to keep an eye out for suspicious activity around the suburbs to help prevent the theft of more of the cast-iron covers.
WCC infrastructure director Stavros Michael says the covers have been stolen from streets in Island Bay, Brooklyn and the Seatoun Bays.
‘‘ They leave holes into which a small child could easily fall and drown – or cause death or serious injury for any cyclist who has the misfortune to ride into one of the open sumps. If a car drops a wheel into one of the open sumps then the damage could be severe.’’
Mr Michael says police have been notified of the spate of thefts.
‘‘We think this is a sign that the global scourge of metal theft is starting to take root in New Zealand.’’
Police are also urging residents to call the 0800 555 111 Crimestoppers number if they have information.
Where thefts have occurred, new grates are being installed or temporary covers are being put in place.