More than 130 wheelie bin thefts have been reported across Sunderland since April.
Police and Sunderland City Council believe some are stolen by youngsters and abandoned, but others are taken to be used in gardens or allotments, as composters, water butts or large growing pots.
Sunderland City Council portfolio polder for city services, Councillor Michael Mordey, said: “While we can focus attention on certain areas where these problems are at their worst, knocking on people’s doors and leaving printed reminders that bins should be taken in after collection, there is only so much we can do with the limited finances and resources we have available.
Superintendent Ged Noble, of Northumbria Police, said: “You can help prevent your bins from being stolen by only putting them out on the day of bin collection and retrieving them as soon as you can after they have been emptied.
“Bins left in back lanes or on the street for several days are more likely to be targeted by thieves.”