LOCALS in Wiltshire have accused Slaithwaite of 'nicking' the name of Moonraking.
In an astonishing outburst levelled at the Colne Valley town's recent celebrations , they have accused Slaithwaite of the "theft of a legend".
More than 2,000 people and 200 lanterns marked the 21st Moonraking Festival along the Huddersfield and Narrow Canal last month.
But the outstanding Slaithwaite celebrations have proved too much for Wiltshire folk who have decided Slaithwaite has swiped the name - and are now demanding it back.
In an e-mail received by the Examiner one outraged Wiltshire resident said: "It should be noted that the Moonrakers legend is based on the county of Wiltshire not the county of Yorkshire.
"Please publish our objections to this theft of a legend. Did Slaithwaite ever have smugglers?"
Another Wiltshire resident moaned: "I was amazed to see that the town of Slaithwaite has `nicked' our age-old smuggling legend.
"How could you do this to us? Our smugglers must be spinning in their graves!"
But Jill Bond of the festival organising committee said the Wiltshire folk had got the wrong end of the stick.
She said a series of leaflets published in 1948 told of the legend of Moonraking - and that during the Napoleonic wars Slaithwaite did indeed have smugglers working in it.
She added: "It's not a case of us nicking it, we have a right to claim it as our own."
Colne Valley councillor Dorothy Lindley said she was in no doubt that moonraking was a Slaithwaite tradition.
She added: "I'm in no doubt. I'm now 70 and from being as small as I can remember, it has always been Slaithwaite Moonrakers.
"If they are saying it's theirs then they will have to show proof of Moonraking in Wiltshire."
THE ceremony stems from a time when smuggling along the canals was commonplace.
On a clear, crisp, moonlit night, booze smugglers detected an approaching exciseman or revenue agent .
In order to get rid of the evidence, they threw their barrels of contraband grog into the canal.
When the exciseman had passed- by, they started trying to fish out the barrels with hay rakes.
But the reven ue agent came back and asked them what they were up to.
The smugglers told him they were trying to rake the cheese they could see - the moon's reflection - out of the water.
The exciseman laughed at them for being so stupid and rode off, leaving the smugglers to their booty.