Raiders of the grit bins

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WHILE the majority of Borders householders struggled to carry on through the recent spell of freezing winter weather, some of their fellow citizens were raiding council-owned grit bins and trying to sell it.

That was what astonished community councillors in Kelso at their January meeting.

Members were discussing the subject of grit and salt supplies after it was raised by Councillor John Bassett, vice-chairman of the community council, who was standing in for the absent provost, Fiona Scott.

Councillor Bassett said he had received many complaints about the state of roads and pavements during bad weather in December.

In reply, Scottish Borders councillor Alasdair Hutton said that the local authority had been trying to acquire emergency supplies of salt after the local authority’s normal supplier “switched off the tap” before Christmas due to overwhelming demand.

And in reply to a complaint from one councillor that there seemed to be very few public grit bins in Kelso, Councillor Hutton pointed out there were in fact 800 such council bins scattered throughout the Borders, including a number in the Tweedside town.

Agreeing that these bins were for salt to be spread nearby on public pavements, around bus stops and so on, Councillor Hutton added: “But we have had reports of some people taking salt from these bins and then trying to sell it to householders.”

Quizzed about his comments by TheSouthern, a spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council said this week that the local authority could not comment on any individual situations such as may have happened in Kelso.

“But it did appear, during the worst of the winter weather, that salt from some public grit bins for use on the public roads and footpaths was taken for private areas,” he added.