A ROGUE asphalt gang has been terrorising people in Huddersfield to extort thousands of pounds.
Death threats have been made to victims who refuse to pay.
Police know that three businesses have fallen prey to the thieves - and also believe there could be more who are just too scared to come forward.
The gang ring up businesses, claiming they have asphalt left over from another job and offering to lay it cheaply. Sometimes they say they'll charge under £50.
The gang turn up early in the morning and quickly lay the material as thinly as possible to get as many yards as they can.
Then they put the price up from £45 for the job to £45 a square yard .
If the victim refuses to pay, the gang makes terrifying threats - including death threats .
The three businesses targeted since the start of November are based in the Holmfirth and Meltham areas - but the gang could have struck elsewhere across Huddersfield.
The members are believed to come from the south of England and drive a distinctive white Iveco flatback lorry, number T1P 1N. It is a false number plate.
Det Con Katie Crofts, of Kirklees CID, said: "We believe the victims are either too embarrassed or too scared to come forward.
"They have been subjected to the most vile and abusive intimidatory threats - some of them of a sexual nature.
"It is vital the victims come forward and talk to us. They are welcome to speak to us in confidence."
Det Con Russ Conlon, of Kirklees CID intelligence unit, said: "The asphalt they lay is very shoddy. This gang's aim is simply to extort money."
The four-strong gang have southern accents.
Det Con Crofts added: "If the gang turns up then tell them to leave immediately.
"If they don't, phone 999 and tell the controller you believe they are suspects in this inquiry. Get as good a description as you can along with the numbers of any vehicles."
Police have arrested a 35-year-old Sussex man on suspicion of blackmail in connection with the inquiry.
He has been released on police bail pending further inquiries.
Phone Det Con Crofts on 01484 436706.