A NUMBER of motorists have been left fuming after road gratings were apparently stolen in and around Banbridge and Dromore.
The thefts lead to an untold amount of damage to their vehicles.
Police in Banbridge are regarding the matter as theft and have advised the public to be on the lookout for any missing gratings.
On Monday, 15 April, four gratings were stolen from Tullygush Road, between the Drumaghadone Road junction and the Diamond Road junction.
Four grids were then stolen from the Mount Ida Road junction with the A1 on the same day.
A further 13 grids were taken from different locations on the Lurganbane Road in Dromore between Monday evening and the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Two grids were also reported stolen from Valley Road on Tuesday morning. A white van was seen in the area around this time and is believed to have been linked with the thefts.
Police are appealing to anyone who has information in relation to the theft or whereabouts of the grids to contact them in Banbridge on 0845 600 8000 or on 0800 555 111 if you wish do to so anonymously.
Motorists are being warned to take care when driving in these areas.
Substantial damage can be done to a vehicle from driving over a drain that has no grating over it.
Cyclists are also being advised to take care when cycling as many of the drains are to be found at the side of the road, where cyclists would commonly cycle.
Paul Thompson, the proprietor of Thompson Tyres in Banbridge advised motorists who are worried about damage to their cars caused by the missing road gratings to have their car checked out.
“My advice to motorists worried about any damage to their car would be to get the car checked. The car might look alright from the outside but a lot of damage can happen to the car’s interior.
“Driving over a drain could wreck the car’s suspension, can burst the tyres and can affect the car’s wheel alignment.”
A Roads Service spokesperson said: “Roads Service inspects the road network on a regular basis. Missing gully grates that have been illegally removed are made safe by Roads Service. Theft of Roads Service property is a loss to the public purse and incidents are reported to the PSNI. Members of the public can report mussing gully grates to the Banbridge Roads Service Section office (028) 4066 2466.”