The problem of metal being stolen and sold for scrap has taken a new twist.

First it was copper cable being ripped from beside railway tracks, then it was metal gully covers being pinched from roads. And now steel litter bins are being stolen from pavements.

In the last month alone, six sturdy bins have gone missing in Birkenshaw, five have been stolen in Liversedge, four in Mirfield, two in Birstall and one in Heckmondwike.

Those thefts form part of a wider picture that has seen 72 steel rubbish bins, worth £220 each, stolen from across north Kirklees in just four weeks, costing Kirklees Council about £16,000 to replace them.

Today Bradford Council revealed that it had not been hit as hard by bin thefts as neighbouring Kirklees.

A spokesman for Bradford Council said: “We have had nothing on the scale of Kirklees, perhaps because our bins have a plastic outer.”

However, two metal liners have been stolen from inside bins in the Bradford district in recent weeks.

Kirklees Council is now asking for the public’s help to provide information on litter bin thefts.

Two vehicles are believed to be in use in the spree. One is a white-cab, blue-back, drop-side Transit and the other a white Mercedes with a sliding door.

Councillor David Sheard, cabinet member for Streetscene in Kirklees, said: “I would urge anyone with information which might lead to identification to come forward. The police have made arrests but have said there isn’t enough evidence to lay charges.

“These thefts hit all our residents in the pocket as the bins need to be replaced.”

Last month the Telegraph & Argus revealed how thefts of copper cable were the biggest cause of delays on the Caldervale rail line, which connects Bradford Interchange with Leeds and Manchester.

And just over a year ago Bradford Council said vulture-like criminals on the look-out for valuable metal were putting lives at risk by stealing up to 100 gully covers a week from streets in Bradford.