THE local authority has received reports that people have been taking salt from grit bins for personal use.

Concerns have also been raised that people have been emptying bins to sell on the salt themselves.

Gloucestershire Police have given a stark warning that this behaviour will not be tolerated and that it will be treated as an act of theft.

The county council is reminding people that the grit bins are filled so that parish councils and residents can treat local roads and pavements.

It is not for people’s drives or to be sold on.

Members of the public are asked to report anyone they see acting suspiciously or anyone using salt from the grit bins for personal use to Gloucestershire Police.

Cllr Stan Waddington, cabinet member for environment, said: "I am extremely disappointed that some people are using the weather situation for their own personal gain.

"I appreciate that it is only the minority we’re talking about, but this does undermine what we’re trying to do.

"It’s no secret that the UK is facing a salt shortage so the salt being put into these bins is precious and should only be used to help people get around in their communities.

"I would ask everyone to be responsible with the grit bins and if you do spot someone doing something they shouldn’t then report it to the police."

A spokesman for Gloucestershire Police said: "Any form of theft will not be tolerated and to steal salt from grit bins, especially at this time, is not only illegal but also puts lives at risk.

"Anyone with any information about these despicable crimes is urged to contact us on 0845 090 1234 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."