Two men have appeared in court after stealing stone from a Lowerhouses church.
Daniel Hepworth and David Kaye were caught red-handed by police as they tried to load £1,000 worth of paving flags into a car.
The men appeared before Kirklees magistrates on Friday when they pleaded guilty to theft.
The stone flags were removed from the cellar steps at Longley and Lowerhouses Community Church, formerly known as Longley Baptist Church.
In the early hours of July 7 police were alerted to a theft taking place there.
They found a green Fiat Punto parked outside.
The back seats were down and Hepworth, 37, and 38-year-old Kaye were stood by the vehicle.
Linda Fowler, prosecuting, said: “As the officers approached Kaye got in the driver’s seat and Mr Hepworth walked off down the road.
“Kaye had his key in the ignition and was trying to start the car.
“One of the officers pulled his hand away and noticed that his hand was covered in mud.”
Hepworth, of Falcon Street in Newsome, was stopped by another officer and also had mud on him.
Police found the stone flags stacked up on the church wall next to the car and both were arrested.
Kaye, of Tunnacliffe Road in Newsome, claimed that he’d had an argument with his girlfriend and was walking in Lowerhouses Lane.
But Hepworth said that they had both driven to the scene.
Sonia Kidd, mitigating, described the theft as opportunistic and said there was no suggestion that they had taken any tools with them to steal the stones.
She said: “Both say they’d driven down the road and found that somebody else had already stacked them against the wall.”
Magistrates ordered a report from probation staff before sentencing the men.
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