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Members of the Port-of-Spain City Corporation Task Force show one of the stolen manhole covers recovered from a scrapyard on George Street, Port-of-Spain, on Saturday. In the background is the owner of the property, Vejai Ramlackhan, who was charged for receiving stolen items.

A 57-year-old businessman of Port-of-Spain has been released on bail after being charged with being in possession of five stolen manhole covers.

According to reports, Vejai Ramlackhan, of St Augustine, was arrested by officers of the Port-of-Spain City Police on Saturday evening.

The team of officers, led by Sgt McShine was reportedly on a search warrant exercise when they executed one at Ramlackhan’s two-story building, on George Street, in Port-of-Spain.

They allegedly found a quantity of copper and the manhole covers, which were reported stolen by the Port-of-Spain City Corporation.

Ramlackhan was charged with receiving and unlawful possession of stolen items by PC Thomas of the Port-of-Spain City Task Force and was granted $50,000 bail by a Justice of the Peace (JP).

Ramlackhan is scheduled to appear in court on July 12.

Contacted yesterday, Port-of-Spain mayor Joel Martinez confirmed the police began investigating the stolen manhole covers after he noticed several missing in downtown Port-of-Spain, last week.

He said that the police officers checked CCTV footage and visited several scrap iron yards until they eventually made the breakthrough in the case.

“I was absolutely disgusted to find a citizen of Port-of-Spain was found to be involved in the stealing of the assets of the city,” Martinez said.

He said that he was grateful that the police were able to recover the manhole covers as the corporation would have had to incur high costs to replace them because they are constructed using special heavy-duty steel.

While Martinez admitted that the corporation had encountered incidents of persons stealing street and traffic signs in the past, it only noticed the stolen manhole covers, last week.

Martinez stated that the corporation would be reinstalling the covers early this week as their absence poses serious risks to drivers and pedestrians.