Groups of women have been confronted by angry residents after being caught searching through their bins and allegedly taking items such as handbags.
The alleged bin thefts are said to be taking place in areas such as Orton Goldhay, Bretton and Ravensthorpe with residents taking to Facebook to air their frustrations.
One shocked resident was Chanel Giles (25) who spotted the women going through a skip outside her 20 year-old brother Richard’s flat last Friday in Hanbury, Orton Goldhay.
The single mother quickly snapped one woman, believed to be in her 40s, climbing into a skip and taking out a handbag and two bin bags.
She said: “I do not think it is very good. Obviously some people haven’t got the facilities to maybe shred their paperwork and documents in their own home.
“It isn’t fair if people can’t use their own bins (to get rid of it) without being defrauded. There are not many police to help us so I just think it is going to become a big problem.”
Chanel, who lives in the city, revealed that she has seen “numerous” posts from friends on Facebook showing other women stealing things from bins.
She said some residents have confronted the women, who have promptly run away.
Another woman, who does not wish to be named, recorded a group of three or four women going through her and her neighbours’ recycling bins.
One Facebook post by Dougi McGinty reported seeing a group in Outfield, Bretton, while poster Jo Brown spotted them in Ravensthorpe.
Sarah Marshall wrote: “I’m in Mewburn and she’s been through mine twice and I’ve told her where to go.”
Sue Glasgow posted: “It Happens In oxclose to by a lady. My husband chased her away.”
A Cambridgeshire police spokeswoman said: “We haven’t had any reports about thefts from bins.”
Asked if stealing from somebody’s bin is an offence, she replied: “There is something called ‘theft by finding’ which people who take from bins/skips can be arrested for.
“When a bin is on the street the property either belongs to the person who put it in there or the council.”
A Peterborough City Council spokesperson said: “We have had no reports of thefts from bins. We would urge any residents to contact ourselves or the police if you witness this taking place.”
The spokesperson added that people’s bin rubbish becomes council property once it goes in a bin lorry or bin truck.