THIS morning (Friday 10th June) there was an interesting debate on the Nolan Show about wheelie bin theft and charges for replacement bins by the local council’s across Northern Ireland. It seems that we should not rubbish this important issue as the great wag has pontificated, as some councils are charging more than other for the new bins. It is a widespread issue, one often not reported to the police and therefore not showing as a crime statistic.
Top charger in Northern Ireland was Banbridge Council (according to Nolan’s researchers) at £50 including delivery. Down District Council and Bangor were £45 but the lowest of them all was Magherafelt at £19.50.
However, before everyone rushes up country to buy one of Magherafelt’s wheelie bins, it should be noted that these bins may have different specifications and may not be quite suitable for your bin lorry. If your wheelie bin damages a bin lorry, you may well be charged for the repairs!
In an initiative to combat wheelie bin crime, Down District Council and the local District Policing Partnership have joined forces to raise awareness about wheelie bin theft and damage across the area. DDPP Chairman Councillor William Dick said, “People who have their bins stolen or damaged are victims of crime and have therefore suffered a great deal of upset and inconvenience. It can be unsettling to know that someone has taken your property and sometimes people feel unsure about where or how to report it.
“Theft at any time is unacceptable but particularly in the tough times we are living in today. For elderly people who are trying to exist on a pension alone this can be a large amount of money to find, and in some cases people can be repeat victims.
Mr Canice O’Rourke, Down Council Director of Environmental Services, said, “Unfortunately we live in a society where personal property gets stolen and wheelie bins are no exception. It is therefore important that individuals realise that their wheelie bin is a valuable asset and to treat it as such.
“As with most opportunistic crime, wheelie bin theft happens under cover of darkness, so our advice is not to leave your bin out over night. Put it out before 7.30am on the day of your collection and take it back in as soon as it has been emptied.”
PSNI Area Commander Deirdre Bones said, “Police are aware that there have been a considerable number of bin thefts over the past 18 months and we have taken steps to educate members of the public through press releases, leaflet drops to areas most affected and appeals by myself at DPP public meetings for members of the public to take steps to prevent thefts.
“I would encourage people not to leave their bin out all day and to store it out of sight behind a locked gate. Bins should be engraved with your post code and house number so that they can be easily identified and less likely to be stolen.”
If a member of the public is offered a wheelie bin, new or used, from a source that is dubious, it may well be stolen.