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50% rise in York stone thefts

People in Leeds are being asked to help report the theft of desirable York stone paving from the city’s streets by crooks who then sell it on.

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York stone pavement Credit: ITV Yorkshire

n the past year, Leeds City Council repair crews have had to replace an estimated £50,000 worth of York stone missing from pavements across the city. This is an increase of over 50% on the previous financial year.

Highways maintenance teams have been out to deal with 250 cases of the stone being stolen from public pavements in Leeds in the past year, a big increase on the 141 incidents the previous financial year.

However, fewer incidents are being reported to West Yorkshire Police, with their statistics showing a 33% drop, down from 99 in Leeds the previous year to 66 this financial year.

York stone is the distinctive natural textured stone quarried in Yorkshire that features in much of the paving in the older parts of the city, particularly in places like Harehills, Headingley, Woodhouse, Burley, Armley, Cross Green, Roundhay, Gledhow, Beeston, Pudsey and Chapel Allerton.

“There is clearly a disparity between the numbers of incidents notified to the police and how many we have to deal with.

"I’d urge anyone spotting this to report it, to help stop these unscrupulous crooks getting away with it. It’s not a victimless crime, as council taxpayers have to pick up the tab.

“What might be just a quick illegal profit to them could be really dangerous for pedestrians, if they suddenly trip over missing paving. It’s costing the council- and therefore the city- money it can ill-afford, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for us to source replacement flags, as we have to reclaim them from elsewhere in Leeds.”

– Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council