A SPATE of manhole cover thefts is putting people’s lives in danger it is claimed.

In recent weeks about 40 of the metal covers, worth about £150 each, have been stolen from the county’s road network.

Flintshire councillor Tony Sharps, executive member for environment, said: “It’s a very serious situation.

“The manhole covers are there to stop cars and people falling down the holes and some of them are 15 to 20 foot deep.

“It’s terribly dangerous for walkers and cyclists and it’s totally irresponsible.”

Police say the majority of thefts have been from coastal roads.

Sgt John Williams, from Flint Police Station, said they were being targeted following a sharp increase in the price of scrap metal.

He said: “It’s possible that people are coming out of the area to take them and we have had sightings of a scrap lorry-type vehicle, which we think is involved.

“We have got a line of enquiry we are following up, but we would like people to contact us if there have been any sightings or if they have any information.”

Replacing the iron covers has already cost Flintshire Council about £10,000.

Cllr Sharps said: “We have got an inspector going round replacing them, but it’s costing the taxpayer a lot of money.”

A council spokesman said: “About 40 gully gratings were taken from various roads between Mostyn and Queensferry and the Mold area.

“This is a completely irresponsible act which creates a significant danger in the highway and to make safe each location and then replace each gully grating will cost the council about £10,000.”

Anyone with information about the thefts should call North Wales Police on the non-emergency 101 number.