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Banbury ‘snow wardens’ to watch out for road salt thieves
RESIDENTS are to be asked to police salt supplies to deter drivers from illegally taking them from collection bins during icy weather.
Banbury Town Council hopes the snow warden scheme will combat “selfish” people who empty grit bins for personal use.
Salt is intended for use on the public roads and footpaths, and people who take it for their own land can be prosecuted.
Thefts have pushed the council’s salt budget from £3,000 in 2011/12 to £10,000 and then £30,000 this financial year.
Council leader Kieron Mallon said wardens could distribute salt in their area, for example by storing it in their garages.
Locks could be added to the council’s 83 salt bins so wardens can protect supplies, he said. The scheme is expected to launch next winter.
Mr Mallon said: “You would have a group of snow wardens on an estate to keep an eye on grit levels and certain bins.”
He already has one resident signed up – Mike Smail, 62, of Falcon Close. He could not get out of his street to get to a hospital where daughter Kathryn was giving birth in January because the nearest bin was empty.
Mr Mallon gave him a lift to buy some salt and he got to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital an hour after she gave birth to his first grandchild.