MORE metal grid covers have been stolen from roads in the borough – and taxpayers will again be asked to pay to have them replaced.

Thieves have again targeted heavy drainage gullies, with 16 covers taken from Spring View and Ince.

Each one costs on average £100 to replace, and Wigan Council spent £20,000 on replacements in 2019 alone.

Uncovered drains have proven a common sight in the borough, as have the traffic cones that Wigan council uses to warn pedestrians and drivers to be careful.

While there have been no reported thefts since last July, the local authority replaced more than 180 gulley tops last year.

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Metal thieves have also proven a problem in other parts of Greater Manchester, with Bolton council branding the crimes as "thoughtless and irresponsible" in 2018.

In light of the most recent incidents, Wigan Council’s director for environment Paul Barton has renewed calls for residents to remain vigilant and pass on any information they have.

“The removal of grids can be extremely dangerous,” said Mr Barton.

“Motorists need to be vigilant, children playing in the streets or anyone going about their business can suffer a serious injury if they don’t spot a missing grid top.

“We want our residents to be our eyes and ears on this and to report any suspicious activity they see.

“Any information that could identify the culprits would be welcomed, such as vehicle details or registration number.

“I would also ask our scrap merchants for any instances of street grids being deposited for scrap.”

Anyone who notices a missing grid cover is asked to report it by calling Wigan Council’s central watch on 01942 404040.