PIPE lagging has become as valuable as gold dust in Huddersfield.
Stocks of lagging are in desperately-short supply for home-owners keen to protect their pipes from freezing.
Lagging has been flying off the shelves as residents flocked to DIY stores during the December cold snap to snap up the pipe insulation material.
Shelves in shops across Huddersfield have been bare for up to three weeks, while have householders battled to stop their pipes cracking and boilers failing in sub-zero temperatures.
Wickes, on Manchester Road, Longroyd Bridge, said almost every customer in the store last month had been hoping to buy lagging.
Store manager Terry Hiley said: “There has been a massive demand for it.
“The shelves are still bare and our suppliers have been unable to catch up.
“This year the demand has increased by 50% compared to last year.
“Just about everyone coming in has been after lagging.
“We’ve managed to get dribs and drabs but as soon as it comes in it goes off the shelf.”
B&Q, Leeds Road, has also suffered from low stocks of the highly sought insulator.
A spokesperson for the store said: “Since the bad weather at Christmas we were struggling to replenish our stocks. We didn’t have the issue as much last year.
“It came very suddenly. The stock in store went really quickly.
“The weather has affected our deliveries.”
Wholesalers struggled to supply plumbers and traders.
Simon Fawcett, of PTS plumbing and heating merchants, Leeds Road, said: “We did run out at one point. People were coming in all over the Christmas period. Our suppliers have been struggling.”