Back in December we blogged about the repercussions of metal thefts from UK roads and how drivers were being put at risk because road signs, lights and cabling were being stolen by opportunist thieves wanting to make some quick cash.
With prices for scrap metal comparatively high at the moment, the temptation to steal road furniture has become too great for some, but the payout for the thief is going to be much less than the cost to the council which has to replace the items.
Take for instance the humble manhole cover – a stolen manhole cover may fetch around £4 in scrap value, but will cost the council £400 to replace, plus the labour costs, and of course there will be other losses in respect of disruption caused.
For example, Cambridge Water says that in its region more than 30 manhole covers have been stolen in the last 18 months. This has caused particular dangers for road users, with several incidents occurring where unsuspecting motorists or pedestrians suffered injuries as a result of missing covers.
Well, now there’s news that “metal substitutes” are being tested in a bid to outwit the scrap metal burglars.
The BBC reports that many local authorities are no longer ordering metal signs for their roads, but are instead, turning to plastic signage.
In respect of manhole covers, at least one local authority is trialling fibreglass manhole covers and the tests have returned early favourable results. It may even turn out to be a better material, as the non-metal covers are unlikely to wear as fast as the metal items and will pose less of a hazard to road users as they age.
So, not only will the metal thieves be thwarted but motorists will be protected – now that is good news!
Image © Frames-of-Mind via Flickr under Creative Commons Licence