East Lancs metal theft figures plummet - but stone thefts on the rise

Stones stolen at Holy Trinity Church, Blackburn

Stones stolen at Holy Trinity Church, Blackburn

First published in News
Last updated
Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Hyndburn reporter

METAL theft in East Lancashire has tumbled dramatically, new figures revealed.

The number of thefts reported to the police has fallen from 1,819 in 2011 to 1,017 last year, police data released under the Freedom of Information Act showed.

However, the number of stone thefts in the same period has tripled, from 71 to 213, sparking fears criminals put off metal theft by strict new legislation are changing tact.

The crime has been linked nationally with the recession, and prices for some types of stone, such as York, can fetch around £100 a square metre.

Hyndburn and Haslingden MP Graham Jones said he had expected metal theft to fall following the introduction of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act last February.

Trading with cash was outlawed, and dealers were required to apply for a licence in a bid to combat theft.

The Labour MP, who chairs an all-party group on combating metal theft, said: “I led the campaign for this but more pertinently, I argued for the toughest regulations possible.

“We almost achieved that — there are one or two areas I want to see improved — but it showed that the softly softly approach would not have had the dramatic impact that this tough regulation has had.

“What we are seeing is that those who previously stolen metal are looking for new opportunities, which they will always do, but we are not seeing a 100 per cent transfer. The figures pale in comparison.”

Rishton is one town that has been plagued by stone thefts in recent months, with back yards targeted as well as pavements.

Coun Ken Moss called on the public to help catch the ‘thieving scum’.

In March, efforts to steal large stone slabs from the around the war memorial in Memorial Park, Great Harwood was thwarted when four foot by three foot slabs were spotted lying in a pile, waiting to be loaded into a vehicle.

The issue has also been prioritised by local officers in the Woodnook area of Accrington.

Comments (5)

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12:17pm Fri 29 Aug 14

burner says...

Sounds like they're petrified !!
Sounds like they're petrified !! burner
  • Score: 3

12:18pm Fri 29 Aug 14

POW WOW says...

Stone the crows !!!!!!!!!! Wish I was one of them Greek goddesses that could turn the thieves into stone !!!!!!
Stone the crows !!!!!!!!!! Wish I was one of them Greek goddesses that could turn the thieves into stone !!!!!! POW WOW
  • Score: 2

2:42pm Fri 29 Aug 14

shirtbox says...

Once again another cash market as lucrative as metal.
Once again another cash market as lucrative as metal. shirtbox
  • Score: 1

5:07pm Fri 29 Aug 14

onsidecobra says...

Weekly humiliation on the centre spots of Ewood Park and Turf Moor might get this kind of thing stopped, but I suspect that would be too Victorian and too out of time with modern thinking which in my opinion doesn't appear to be working. Just a thought of course!
Weekly humiliation on the centre spots of Ewood Park and Turf Moor might get this kind of thing stopped, but I suspect that would be too Victorian and too out of time with modern thinking which in my opinion doesn't appear to be working. Just a thought of course! onsidecobra
  • Score: 2

7:25pm Fri 29 Aug 14

POW WOW says...

onsidecobra wrote:
Weekly humiliation on the centre spots of Ewood Park and Turf Moor might get this kind of thing stopped, but I suspect that would be too Victorian and too out of time with modern thinking which in my opinion doesn't appear to be working. Just a thought of course!
Not a bad idea ......... in primary school during Friday assembly we used to have the culprits for any weekly trouble hauled up on stage in front of the deputy head, who gave them a good poke in the chest !!!!!!!!
[quote][p][bold]onsidecobra[/bold] wrote: Weekly humiliation on the centre spots of Ewood Park and Turf Moor might get this kind of thing stopped, but I suspect that would be too Victorian and too out of time with modern thinking which in my opinion doesn't appear to be working. Just a thought of course![/p][/quote]Not a bad idea ......... in primary school during Friday assembly we used to have the culprits for any weekly trouble hauled up on stage in front of the deputy head, who gave them a good poke in the chest !!!!!!!! POW WOW
  • Score: 2
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