More than 100 paving stones have been stolen from Preston streets in the last three weeks.Advertisement
Lancashire County Council and Lancashire Police are investigating the theft of the flag stones, primarily in the Ashton on Ribble and Deepdale areas.
More than 20 roads have been targeted including English Martys Place, off St George’s Road, with nine flags pinched.
Brook Street has seen seven flagstones missing and Elton Street, near Tulketh Road, had five flags taken.
The incidents take place in the early hours of the morning.
Paul Dunne, highways manager for Preston, said: “We’re asking people to keep their eyes open and alert the police if they see people removing stone flags, which are such a historic part of Lancashire’s streetscape.
“They’re being stolen overnight, likely by people posing as a work gang dressed in high visibility jackets, who take the flagstones away in a car or van. It is extremely unlikely that county council highways teams would be working overnight on a residential street and I’d ask people to report any activity of this sort while these thefts are occurring.
“Some of these flagstones will have been in place many years and have a heritage value beyond the obvious financial cost.
“Unfortunately there is little we can do to stop organised criminal gangs, other than encouraging people to be vigilant.”
Inspector Steve Anderton, Lancashire Police, said: “I would like to reassure residents that additional patrols are being deployed into the areas to target criminal activity and so I would urge the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to us on 101.”