How Do I Stop My Wheelie Bin from Being Stolen?

How Do I Stop My Wheelie Bin from Being Stolen

It’s a sad fact of life these days that if something hasn’t been nailed down, someone might come along and think they can take it. Theft appears to be on the rise, and even the common wheelie bin isn’t immune from criminality.

In the last month, I’ve heard of two wheelie bins being stolen in my own neighbourhood. Things like this really get under my skin, so I decided to put this short guide together on how to stop your wheelie bin being stolen. 

How to secure your wheelie bin from being stolen

Follow one or all these tips and you should never be victim to a wheelie bin crime again.

1.  Put your house number or name on it

The most basic thing you can do to secure your wheelie bin from being stolen is to stick or paint your house or flat number on it. Most wheelie bins are stolen by people who have lost their own.

By painting your house number onto the bin, most opportunistic theirs will think twice before stealing your wheelie bin. 

Numbering will stop around 90% of wheelie bins being stolen.

2. Buy a specialist wheelie bin lock

Numbering it won’t stop your wheelie bin from being stolen though. Like I said earlier, it seems like if things aren’t nailed down, they are ripe for a criminal. 

So, the best way to secure a wheelie bin from being stolen is to use a bin lock designed for the purpose. There are many different locks specifically manufactured to keep bins secure in stormy weather – this is one of the best Amazon bin locks.

The best wheelie bin locks are those that can be screwed into to walls and posts, as they make it almost impossible for your wheelie bin to be stolen. 

3. Use a bicycle lock 

For a quicker alternative, you could stop your wheelie bins from being stolen with a bike lock which you might already have to hand somewhere.

To secure your wheelie bin from being stolen simply loop the bike lock around the handle and attach it to a fence or post. If you have multiple bike locks, try locking your bins together to keep them from rolling away.

If a load of wheelie bins are locked together and not even attached to a fence they are made so much harder for thieves to steal. 

4. Secure your bins in a sheltered area / bin store

If you have the space, money, and time, consider a dedicated bin store which you can then lock. Not only will it stop your wheelie bins blowing away but will also discourage people from stealing them – buy one on Amazon.

If you don’t want to buy or build a bin store you could instead try use a sheltered area on your property which you can shut, lock, or put out of sight. If possible, store them in your garage or around the back of your home.

5. Stop other people using your wheelie bin

Whilst this isn’t a measure to secure your wheelie bin from being stolen, it will stop other people using it. Passers-by or neighbours using your bin can be frustrating if your council only collects what’s in the bin as you can quickly run out of waste space.

The solution is to lock the wheelie bin lid using one of these easy to fit clamp devices (view on Amazon).They will prevent the lid from opening and scattering rubbish all over your neighbourhood during high winds. 

More on preventing stolen wheelie bins

Those tips and products will be how you stop your wheelie bin from being stolen, but there’s also some more you should be aware of – as follows.

What do you do if someone steals your wheelie bin? 

When someone steals your wheelie bin you should treat it as theft, because that’s exactly what it is. What you then do will depend on whether you know who stole it, but regardless of you should report it to the police to the stolen wheelie bin is logged. 

Then you might need to contact your local council authority. If they own and manage the wheelie bins, they can advise on what to do when someone steals your wheelie bin.

How Do I Stop My Wheelie Bin from Being Stolen
Stop your wheelie bin by being stolen by linking it with others and a chain.

What happens if someone steals my bin?

When someone steals your wheelie bin, the course of action and outcome depends on several factors.

The first factor boils down to who legally owns the wheelie bin. If the wheelie bin was provided by a local authority, they will have their own rules on replacement wheelie bins. 

For example, Southampton City Council in Hampshire will charge for lost or stolen wheelie bins. So, even if someone steals your bin, you will still have to pay for a replacement if you lived in this particular city. 

Harsh… but true. 

However, they do offer some advice on what to if you think someone has stolen your wheelie bin. 

  • Make sure that you have checked to see whether your bin has been moved away from your normal collection point.
  • Check to see if your bin has been accidentally claimed by one of your neighbours.
  • Check the surrounding areas carefully in case your bin has been returned to the wrong property.

Is using someone else’s wheelie bin illegal?

Technically it is illegal to use someone else’s wheelie bin because it can be classed as “fly-tipping”. In simple terms you are taking your waste and putting it into or on someone else’s property – in this case, their wheelie bin.

Is it illegal to steal a wheelie bin?

It is illegal to steal a wheelie bin. The Theft Act of 1968 clearly lays out what constitutes stealing and it ticks all the boxes if someone steals a wheelie bin. Here’s the basic definition of theft according to the Act.

  1. A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly.
  2. It is immaterial whether the appropriation is made with a view to gain or is made for the thief’s own benefit.
  3. The five following sections of this Act shall have effect as regards the interpretation and operation of this section (and, except as otherwise provided by this Act, shall apply only for purposes of this section).

The bottom line is this: if the wheelie bin does not belong to you and you take it, that is stealing. So, yes, it is against UK law to steal a wheelie bin by pure virtue of the fact you are stealing it. 

Why do wheelie bins go missing?

Wheelie bins go missing for a number of reasons; the thief wants to replace their own stolen (it’s a vicious circle), or the thief’s own wheelie bin flew away in the wind, and they think they can simply steal yours to replace it. 

Alternatively, it could simply be kids messing around. I’ve seen university students in my town being wheeled home in trolleys and wheelie bins after a drunken night out. 

I also found a UK wheelie bin company who investigated missing wheelie bins and crunched the numbers. Here’s a quote from them:

The main reasons for the missing or damaged bins were recorded as theft, arson, and general wear and tear. Bins that are overloaded can split, or wheels and lids can be broken. Liverpool City Council spent around £500,000 last year replacing missing, stolen or damaged wheelie bins.

Wheelie Bins,


I hope these tips will stop your wheelie bin from being stolen. If it still is, please don’t not report it. The more thefts like this are reported, hopefully it will mean the thefts can eventually be reduced.

You might also like…

Image in header via

Categorized as Backyard