Bolton residents have been asked to be on the look out after a spate of drain cover thefts across the borough.
Bolton Council is facing a £5,000 bill after thieves made off with more than two dozen metal grids from streets in Horwich, Blackrod and Halliwell.
A total of 26 gully tops have gone missing from public streets in recent days including seven taken from Dark Lane in Blackrod alone.
In each case, council workers have responded quickly to make the roads safe and installed temporary measures if an immediate replacement cover cannot be found.
The average cost to replace one of the durable metal coverings is £200.
However, in cases where a lid has to be made to measure or when a certain type of cover is no longer being mass produced, this amount can be much higher.
Taking drain covers is stealing directly from the council tax payers of Bolton.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Cllr David Chadwick, said:
“Taking drain covers is stealing directly from the council tax payers of Bolton and the replacement cost means there is less money to spend elsewhere.
“On top of that, leaving drains and gullies open represents a serious risk to the public.
“I urge everyone to be vigilant and encourage anyone with information to report the perpetrators to the police.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Greater Manchester Police on 101.
Missing drain covers can be reported via the or Bolton Council website.