Axe Valley police hunt grit thieves

“Selfish” people condemned for stealing roadside grit during the recent coldsnap

POLICE in East Devon have warned they will take action against “selfish” people who steal roadside grit.

And they have called on residents who spot those taking it to report them.

The crackdown comes after a large amount of grit was stolen from roadside bins in the Uplyme area during the recent cold snap.

Parish Clerk Lois Wakeman has put up notices warning people that it is an offence to take it for use on private property – including garden paths and drives.

She said: “During the two recent cold spells, a large quantity of the grit delivered to the parish has been stolen by selfish people for their own use, rather than spread on the roads. At least one bin has been emptied twice by someone with a tractor who came from the Ware Cross direction down Gore Lane, and in Harcombe/Red Cross area almost all the 15 or so grit bags delivered last month were taken away.”

Mrs Wakeman said both the Neighbourhood Beat Manager, PC Kevin Bennett, and county council highways officials had indicated that they will take action if anyone can give information about the people concerned.

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She added: “They have encouraged residents to take registration numbers of any vehicles involved and pass them on so that these selfish people can be taken to task, and perhaps discouraged from illegal activity in future.

“Grit is available commercially from local builders’ merchants and farm stores, and is not very expensive, so those making life unnecessarily dangerous for everyone else in the village are only doing so to save themselves a few pounds.”

To report incidents of grit theft call 08452 777444 for the Axminster Rural Police team, or 0845 155 1004 for Area East Highways – providing a the grit bin number from the inside of the lid, if possible.