Temporary security barriers have been installed over open drains in Hertfordshire after close to 100 covers were stolen in just the past few weeks.
According to the Mercury, the covers have been taken from the East Herts and Broxbourne boroughs, including the towns of Hertford, Hoddesdon and Trunford, at an estimated cost to the taxpayer of almost £30,000.
Hertfordshire county councillor Stuart Pile was quoted by the newspaper as saying: "Removing these covers poses a major risk to public safety, particularly for cyclists and pedestrians, not to mention the cost to taxpayers in replacing them.
"These thefts mean we have to use valuable resources to replace them - resources that otherwise could have gone towards additional maintenance work."
Security barriers and warning cones have now been deployed around the holes to protect and alert the public.
Replacement covers have been ordered – at a cost of about £300 each.
Earlier this year, in October, market traders in Waltham forest noticed that security bollards
were going missing from the Buckhurst Hill area of the London borough.
It was believed the bollards were stolen after being hit by motorists.