Research published by the Local Government Associations has found that 88 per cent of councils have had metal stolen in their area in the past three years.
Out of 157 councils surveyed in England and Wales, most had seen gully covers, electric cables and street furniture stolen.
As a result, the LGA wants to ensure that MPs turn up to this week’s vote on reform to the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964.
If fewer than 102 MPs attend the vote, then the new Bill will fail and action to tackle metal theft will stall for at least a year.
LGA safer and stronger communities board chairman Councillor Mehboob Khan said: “This mindless crime is spiralling out of control and has cost councils millions of pounds in having to replace memorial plaques, manhole covers, metal gullies, children’s playground equipment, street signs and lead from schools, council offices and crematoriums.
“MPs will all be aware of the damage, disruption and heartaches metal thefts have caused in their areas. The legislation for regulating the scrap metal industry has long ceased to be fit for purpose and we can’t afford Parliament to stall any longer on bringing it up to date.
“Whatever their political party, councils from across the country will be looking to MPs this Friday to take forward this Bill to help introduce proper regulation of the scrap yards where much of this stole metal ends up.
“Councils want to see a renewable licence for scrap metal dealers, which could be reviewed at the instigation of the police or licensing authority and, if necessary, revoked.
“This would make it much less likely that stolen metal will find its ways into scrap yards.”