A SPATE of drain cover thefts has caused the council to become concerned.

The trading standards team warned residents to be on the lookout after seven gulley grates vanished.

It is believed the thieves are selling the covers from scrap metal, all at an eye-watering cost to Reading Borough Council.

Last summer there were nearly 50 of these grates takes across areas of Tilehurst and Southcote, which cost around £20,000 to replace.

Councillor Tony Page, deputy leader of the council said: "The individuals who are taking these gulley covers are being particularly selfish as there could be a serious accident if they are not replaced quickly.

“These thefts are costing council tax payers money an average of £500 per theft.

"What is even more galling is that the value of the scrap metal is very little at just over £2 each per cover. One can only guess what level of moron is stealing these covers.

“I would urge people to keep a look out and call police on 999 if they actually witness someone attempting to take a gulley grate”.

He urged anyone who catches someone red-handed trying to steal a drain cover to call 999 immediately.

Currently, seven gully grates have been taken recently from Bute Street (2), Helmsdale Close, Gainsborough Road, Frogmore Road, Penroath Avenue and Tay Road.

Cllr Page added: "There are some potentially horrendous safety implications to these drain covers being stolen.

"That includes danger for cyclists, pedestrians or even motorists.

"We are asking people to be vigilant around the area and to contact the police on 101 if they see anything suspicious and to contact the Council on 0118 937 3787 to report any missing gully grates so they can be made safe."