A new campaign to save Huddersfield’s heritage is to be launched on Yorkshire Day.

Police, Kirklees Council and others are joining up to target thieves stealing the town’s historic stone flags and stonework.

Those backing the campaign include Holmfirth artist Ashley Jackson, whose works feature much of the historic landscape now at risk.

Millions of people around the world saw the beautiful Yorkshire countryside in all is splendour during the Grand Départ of the Tour De France but with stone theft a growing problem the campaign has been launched to keep Yorkshire where it belongs, in Yorkshire.

Launching this Friday, on Yorkshire Day, the “Once it’s gone, it’s gone” campaign, asks people to report to Crimestoppers whenever they see the removal of stone or stone roofing tiles, even though it may look like perfectly legitimate activity, to help keep Yorkshire’s iconic landscape out the hands of thieves.

One of the latest incidents was at the Colne Valley Museum in Golcar where thieves dug up Yorkshire stone paving flags but were disturbed before they could take them away.

There have been other similar thefts at Castle Hill.

Mr Jackson said: “These aren’t just stone walls; these are sculptures of our heritage across the heart of Yorkshire. They are being stolen because of greed. Everybody’s got a telephone nowadays – use your telephone to protect Yorkshire”.

Insp Mark Trueman, Kirklees Rural Neighbourhood Policing Team Commander, said: “As with any crime, there is always a victim and stone theft is no exception. Sadly, not only will the owner of the stone be a victim, so will our great county of Yorkshire. Once the stone has gone from an area, it has gone forever; which leaves a change in our landscape.

“It’s only a few weeks ago that Yorkshire became the focal point for the world’s media when the Tour de France came visiting. The landscape was an awesome sight with the fantastic scenery showing Yorkshire in its full glory, complete with its Yorkshire stone.

Inspector Mark Trueman
 

“I would ask if you see anyone removing stone, whether it looks legitimate or not, please contact ourselves on 101 or Crimestoppers to leave the information anonymously.

“If enquiries find the work to be genuine, that is not a problem. This process allows us to gather information to establish who are genuine stone removers and who are not. By working together, we will make sure that our Yorkshire is not stolen.”

Clr Peter O’Neil, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “The council, West Yorkshire Police and Crimestoppers have come together to tackle the problem of stone theft. We’re asking the people of Kirklees to join the partnership and help protect our heritage.Stone theft and the removal of old stone tiles from roofs might look like innocent, genuine activity but you can’t tell by looking whether what is happening is a job of work or a crime so we would urge you to phone the information in anyway”.

Residents can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, if they prefer not to contact the police, by calling 0800 555 111 or completing an online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

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