An investigation has been launched after 16 bins were stolen from Brighton businesses.
Brighton and Hove City Council said the bins – which are together worth more than £5,000 – can be sold off as scrap metal.
The local authority said it is now working with the police to study CCTV footage of 'the brazen thieves' who are targeting the bins,
The bins were taken from outside business premises, with the worst hit areas being Western Road, Church Road, Preston Road and New England Street.
Cllr Gill Mitchell, chair of the city’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “These crooks are not only stealing from the council, they are also stealing from the public as it costs the council money to replace them.
“And every bin that’s stolen means less money we have to spend on other waste services we provide.
“We are determined to catch these thieves and have some clear CCTV footage of them taking the bins.
“We are appealing to the public to contact the council or police if they have any information as to who these people are.”
It’s estimated that each bin could fetch around £200 on the black market.
Companies that have been hit so far are Yefsis of Greece, London Road; The Hive Café, Stoneham Road; Foodilic, Western Road; 7Bone Burger, Church Road; Coffeefix, Western Road; and Café Plenty, New England Street.
The council said the same thieves 'even had the cheek to steal a second bin from Badlands Guitars, Preston Road, just two days after the council replaced it'.
Graham Cook, of Badlands Guitars, said: “On the face of it, this may appear a petty crime, but when you consider the expense of every bin stolen, paid in taxes, plus the massive inconvenience and the high likelihood of fly tipping the contents, this adds up to a series of crimes we would love to see resolved.
“Obviously this has distracted us from our business in studying and printing from our CCTV thus losing us money. If anyone has any information it would be greatly appreciated.”
Inspector Paul Ransome of Sussex Police said: “We would like to hear from anyone who has witnessed these bin thefts or has any information about them to contact us by calling 101 quoting serial 504 of 27/05.”