A spate of thefts of traditional Yorkshire stone has left residents seething.
Paths and walls across Huddersfield worth hundreds of pounds have been targeted in recent days, including in Quarmby, Newsome, Milnsbridge and Meltham.
People are now warned to be alert to thieves who have been pulling up flagstones to sell on to unscrupulous stone merchants for cash.
Jessica Cullen, who lives in Quarmby, said eight stone flags were taken from a council-owned path next to her terraced house between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
“This is not the first time it’s happened,” she said. “Someone loosened them a couple of years ago and a few days later they were gone. This time they have taken about eight. These stones will have been there since these terraces were built.”
She’s amazed at the cheek of stone thieves.
“I just can’t imagine going to somebody’s home and thinking ‘I’m going to dig up their path’.”
She has reported the theft to West Yorkshire Police and alerted Kirklees Council to the trip hazard caused by the missing stones.
Jessica thinks the thieves may have been disturbed as they didn’t take all the stones.
After she shared details of the theft on social media, a stone yard worker warned on a local Facebook group that some unscrupulous businesses were paying cash for stone with no questions asked while legitimate yards did all they could to work with police and make it harder for stone thieves to make easy money.
He said: “We have a lot of people coming to the yard to sell stone/flags and we have a policy that tries to prevent thieves from making a quick sale.
“We have a holding place within the yard which the police know about. Any stone from the general public will not be paid for in cash on the day. We allow one week holding until payment and a record of the vehicle and address are noted.”
The stone yard worker told the Examiner: “I have had many visits by the police and have been able to give them information of vehicles etc that have tried selling us stone from the back of a car who don’t want to have their details taken.
“It is quite unbelievable what we see turning up to the yard to try sell us stone. I am sure most of the people are legitimate but we always take details of the car/vans that have sold stone and also the address of where it has come from.
“You can tell usually who are legitimate sellers as they are quite happy to give us these details and are happy about receiving payment a week later.”
But he added that those who are up to no good usually leave when asked for their personal details.
He added: “I do know there are certain stone yards that will buy from anyone for cash and these places give other yards a bad name.”