Over the past few years rare Yorkstone paving has been going missing from towns and homes across the UK. Back in 2010 Camden council were asking residents and businesses to be on the look out for rogue contractors stealing paving stones from the side of the boroughs roads. On this occasion the thefts were to cost the borough in excess of £16,000.
In 2012 thieves dug up a woman’s entire driveway in broad daylight and made a clean getaway with around £12,000 worth of antique Yorkstone paving slabs. They managed to dig up a humongous 120m2 of the heavy stone, load it on a truck and drive away without anyone asking any questions.
The most recent case was last month in Kent. Yorkstone worth in the region of £6,000 was stolen from a historic town centre. The thieves posing as highway workers had stolen roadside barriers to make the operation look genuine. It will be extremely difficult for the council to replace this precious paving, as they are increasingly hard to get hold of.
Thefts like this present a clear danger to pedestrians and in times of such financial pressure councils cannot always make like for like repairs. What you can do to prevent this happening in your local community is to question the legitimacy of works in your area. Just because somebody is wearing the correct attire and has the appropriate equipment does not mean the work is be carried out legitimately. If you see anything suspicious report it.
Natural stone is an easy target as it is extremely difficult to identify and trace. Fortunately DNA glue has been introduced to help councils and homeowners trace and recover their precious stone. The glue has a unique identity code which can be seen under ultra-violet light. It follows the introduction of DNA based grease, which has significantly helped reduce the amount of valuable metal that is stolen.
I hope I have made you aware of the severity of this organised criminal operation and how far spread the theft of natural stone is being carried out and hopefully informed of the precautions we as a community need to take to protect our stone and what we should be on the look out for. This is being taken very serious by authorities. They are going the full length to help crack down on organised crime of this nature.
Next time you are out and about keep your eyes open and your flagstones safe.
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- Beau Templeman
- Stone Corner
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