MORE than 3,000 tyres have been seized from warehouses, farms and garages in villages across Bahrain since the beginning of the year.
It comes as police stepped up efforts to prevent vandals from burning tyres on the streets of Bahrain, with increased patrols in trouble hotspots.
Police swoops on several locations were carried out as officers raided old houses, farms and on occasions had to stop vehicles that were transporting tyres from one location to another, an Interior Ministry spokesman told the GDN.
He revealed that 1,349 had been sized in the Central Governorate with 1,093 confiscated from the Northern, 404 in Manama and 327 in Muharraq, while the Southern Governorate was clear of such acts of sabotage.
"In raids carried out in the Central Governorate from January to March, police have seized 1,349 tyres from sheds, shops and farm houses," said the spokesman.
"These have been also seized from some vehicles that were seen transporting them.
"Similarly, 1,093 tyres have been confiscated in the Northern Governorate while 404 were seized from the Capital.
"In the Muharraq area as well, there have been raids at various places, which have led to 327 seizures while the Southern Governorate area has reported a clean slate."
The spokesman said security forces were working closely with Bahrain's municipalities and municipal councils as well as other organisations to prevent saboteurs from getting their hands on tyres.
"There are also efforts to co-ordinate with garages and vehicle repair centres," he added, but did not reveal the extent of co-operation planned.
Vandals have been burning tyres all over Bahrain in the last few months in acts aimed at disrupting traffic with some having home-made explosive hidden among them.
These have led to several policemen being injured and have resulted in the death of a Bahraini youngster, Ahmed Al Dhefairy, from Hamad Town when he tried to remove burning tyres from a road near Roundabout 18 on April 17.
Environmentalists have also demanded an end to such incidents since they pollute the environment and lead to several medical complications among people with respiratory problems. However, the spokesman said there was a decline in tyre-burning across the country. "We hope it will be completely eliminated in a few weeks," he said.
He also said that the confiscated tyres are being kept at an unknown location.
"We will soon decide what to do with them," he added.
Meanwhile, a garage owner in Manama yesterday said they have been instructed not to dispose of tyres on the streets.
"When a customer comes in for a tyre change and does not take the old tyres back, we are not allowed to throw them or give them away," he told the GDN.
"Officials from the municipality come and take them away every few weeks."
Another mechanic in Sitra said they were co-operating with authorities to remove unwanted tyres off the street.
A garage worker in Sitra said earlier they used to throw away the tyres but how have to keep them until someone comes to pick them up.
"I have been fast running out of space and have to call officials to get the tyres," he added.
The GDN earlier reported that nearly 8,000 ready-made Molotov cocktails were seized since the beginning of the year during police raids of several locations.