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Concern over rise in stone theft

Concern over rise in stone theft

Published at 6:57am 28th October 2015. (Updated at 1:55pm 28th October 2015)

There are calls for a clampdown on stone theft, following a big increase in parts of Yorkshire.

Otley MP Greg Mulholland has tabled a parliamentary Early Day Motion after incidents rose by 18% across West Yorkshire in the last year.

He has expressed concern that schools, homes, farms and churches are all being targeted by thieves.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which represents landowners, has backed calls for a clampdown.

CLA North Regional Director Dorothy Fairburn said: "We strongly agree with Mr Mulholland that this is a real issue in rural Yorkshire and our region's heritage is being placed under threat.

"The CLA fought hard to introduce tougher legislation in the battle against metal theft, which led to an immediate 40% fall in the number of offences. It would appear that criminals have now moved their attention to stone as a new target."

Mr Mulholland’s Early Day Motion calls for a dedicated stone theft taskforce to be set up, similar to the National Metal Theft Taskforce, with stronger fines and sentences.

It also calls for a national awareness-raising campaign for households and businesses to check where their stone is from.

CLA Yorkshire President John Henderson, who farms at Coniston Cold near Skipton, has had top stones stolen from roadside walls, as well as roof slates from barns.

He said: "Stone theft is a real problem for farmers and landowners and I would welcome any new measures to deter criminals."