Rome manhole covers stolen for scrap

Rome drain covers and fountain tops sold to illegal scrap merchants.

Dozens of cast-iron manhole covers have been stolen recently in Rome's suburbs, with about 50 alone taken from along Viadotto Gronchi, in the north-eastern Colle Salario, according to Rome newspaper Il Messaggero.

Similar robberies have been carried out in other northern areas of the capital as well as south-western suburbs such as Magliana and Muratella, leaving roads in a hazardous condition for pedestrians and motorists, particularly motorcyclists.

Elsewhere around Rome, including in the centre, there have been increasing robberies of the ornate cast-iron tops from the nasoni drinking fountains.

The drain covers, which weigh as much as 40kg, can fetch up to €250 on the illegal scrap market. Over the last five years the value of iron has surged in Italy, making iron more lucrative than copper on the black market.