Town's grit supplies stolen by 'outsiders'
Grit thieves have been raiding reserves in an East Riding town as the region battles icy conditions.
Market Weighton Town Council has had reports from residents that people from nearby villages and towns have been pilfering grit from their new bins, provided for locals to spread on footpaths.
Parish councillors and the police are now urging people to stay away from the red bins if they do not live locally.
The council said the bins were emptying at a suspicious rate of three tonnes per week.
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With up to 15cm of snow forecast for parts of East Yorkshire this week, the demand for grit has surged and the town council cannot replenish supplies fast enough.
Now, there are fears the grit is not reaching those in need.
Over the last few weeks, the council has received reports "outsiders" are driving into Market Weighton to fill buckets and bags with grit and plunder the supplies.
Acting town clerk Tracy Simms said: "Our outdoor worker has been continually filling up the salt bins.
"We understand people coming and helping themselves to salt, in fact we expect them to do it, but we have been hearing stories of people driving in from outside the town and helping themselves.
"It is a real shame that the town council is doing something to help and it is being abused."
The town council installed 10 grit bins last year.
It costs £165 a year to keep each bin fully-stocked.
The red grit bins were purchased by the town council to complement the 14 yellow grit bins already supplied by East Riding Council.
It followed complaints from residents that some footpaths, junctions and minor roads were dangerously icy.
The grit bins were placed on streets the council deemed to be most in need and it was intended those within walking distance would use them.
Outdoor worker Ken Atkinson said: "I have moved three tonnes by myself this week.
"The local gossip is that it is down to people coming in from elsewhere.
"The taxpayers in Market Weighton are paying for it and it is not for people to drive up in their cars and pinch it.
"It has been put in those locations for a reason and it is there for the pensioners, if you ask me."
Parish councillor and East Riding Councillor David Rudd said: "I think it is a cheek and I am amazed someone would do this.
"I don't think it is that expensive to buy, so it is petty and silly to take it from the residents."
Sgt Pete Rogers, of Market Weighton neighbourhood policing team, said they would look into all reports of stolen grit.
He said: "The grit bins are intended for the people of Market Weighton and paid for by residents.
"If people are coming from elsewhere and liberating it, it is stealing.
"I have never heard of this kind of thing before. It is a rather unique one, but it would constitute as theft.
"Anyone found to be doing so will be dealt with accordingly."
A spokesperson for East Riding Council said: "If residents anywhere in the East Riding feel they need a salt bin and regular supplies, please let us know and we will assess the need for one."
Residents should call (01482) 395 722.