Iron technology leader Saint-Gobain PAM UK, part of leading international materials company, Saint-Gobain, has reminded organisations responsible for specifying access covers and gully gratings of the importance of selecting products with integrated security features, following another spate of high-profile thefts.
The latest wave has seen some 400 access covers stolen across Warwickshire, which have cost the taxpayer around £90,000 to replace.
Paul Thompson of Saint-Gobain PAM UK explained: "Metal access covers and gully gratings are often targeted by thieves for their scrap value – but the costs to local authorities and highways organisations are far beyond that. At the very least, a missing manhole cover or gully grate generates significant disruption and inconvenience. The costs of traffic management and setting up diversions while products are replaced are significant enough in themselves, but even these pale into insignificance when compared with the human costs – injuries and lost time accidents – and the costs of insurance claims or even litigation.
"However, specifiers can go a long way towards removing the risk of unauthorised access and ultimately theft through detailed material specification and product selection. Products are now available which offer additional security as standard or have the ability to have locking devices fitted retrospectively. These features are enough to deter opportunist thefts – while replacement costs will be cut significantly too."