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Stone theft crimewave surging through Colne and Holme Valleys

Police use 'SmartWater' to track stolen stone

Inspector Mark Trueman

Police have revealed a stone theft crimewave is surging through the Colne and Holme valleys.

Numerous thefts from roofs, walls and garden paths have been reported since the start of this year in villages including Marsden and Slaithwaite.

Valleys policing inspector Mark Trueman said many thefts took place in broad daylight with thieves posing as workmen to fool the public.

Insp Trueman said: “It’s an ongoing issue around the whole of West Yorkshire due to the increased presence of Yorkshire stone.

“However, it is more prevalent in rural areas such as the Colne and Holme valleys where stone walls are seen more often.

“We have recently arrested a few people but we are continuing our investigations as this is a large scale problem.

Insp Trueman said that police were now using SmartWater liquid to act as an invisible tag on stone flags and have been carrying out spot checks on stone merchants to check that no stolen stones are being resold but need the public to play their part in tackling the issue.

Stone is thought to be sought by thieves due to the cost of quarrying new materials.

He said: “We would like to ask the public to be vigilant when out and about to any suspicious activity.

“Quite often these people will wear high visibility clothing to look like workmen and will take away materials in broad daylight.

“We rely on intelligence from the public to counter this sort of crime so if anyone has any information they should get in touch.

“People who take photos of suspicious incidents should make sure to include the registration details of the vehicle used in connection with it.”

They hope to launch an official crackdown scheme in conjunction with Kirklees Council in June.

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