Woman woke up to find her garden path stolen by brazen thieves in night

A woman from Whitefield in Bury woke up to find her valuable York stone paving had been stolen overnight. She took to social media to express her outrage at the incident. Similar incidents of theft have been reported in the Unsworth and Tottington areas of Bury, leaving residents on high alert.

The victim shared a photograph with the Manchester Evening News, saying the muddy patches where five or six of her flagstones once lay.

This isn’t the first time York stone thefts have made headlines, as church grounds and private pathways have also fallen victim to these audacious thieves. In a notorious incident two years ago, flags were ripped up and stolen from outside the Grade I-listed St Mary’s Church in Prestwich.

The woman, aged 45, resides on London Street in Whitefield, and the communal pathway runs between houses. Determined to raise awareness and caution her fellow residents, she said thieves were “doing the rounds” and their head been other thefts reported.

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She said: “On the same night I looked on Facebook groups and there were other people saying that they had been done. These people are clearly doing the rounds so I just want people to be aware, really.”

The mum of two said the flagstones had been down for 70 to 80 years and she’d been told the stones can cost around £160 per square metre.

She said: “I just want people to know it’s going on. And if there is an ounce of conscience with the people who have done this.

“I woke up on Monday morning to find it had happened. Half the pathway was missing. I posted it on Facebook and that is when other people came forward to say they had been targeted as well.

“According to one local Facebook group, there were several thefts overnight within close proximity to each other. At least four that I know of, with many more over the last few weeks in this area.”

She said they took five or six flagstones from her, and she suspects “they definitely had a van and it is not a one man job.”

From talking to other victims she said: “Apparently, people say that they are very quick and just take one or two stones then go somewhere else to steal, so they are never in the same place for too long.”

She said even local sellers advised against replacing the stolen stones, as they believed the thieves would return.

The homeowner expressed her exasperation, saying: “I’m furious. It is just so annoying and frustrating. You cannot have anything these days – not even a path. It is clearly all well organised and I believe they can fetch up to £160 per square metres, but someone is buying them from those who have taken them.”

York stone thefts have been a cause for concern across the country, particularly in rural areas. Police forces have issued warnings about the high desirability and value of York stone, urging residents to remain vigilant.

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