Thieves stealing drain covers for their scrap metal value are putting motorists and pedestrians at risk.
Fourteen grates and one manhole cover have been stolen from Newham, east London, leaving "dangerous holes" in the road.
Newham Council said culprits could be charged with interfering with safety equipment, which carries a jail term.
Streets in Stratford, Forest Gate, West Ham and Canning Town have been worst affected by the thefts.
Deputy mayor councillor Christine Bowden said: "The thieves are risking people's lives for the sake of their own selfish gain.
"They are leaving dangerous holes in the ground that put pedestrians, especially the most vulnerable, at risk of falling into them.
"They could also cause great damage to vehicles."