Could this spray help tackle Yorkshire Stone thefts?


New moves are being made to tackle growing problems with the theft of Yorkshire Stone paving in Leeds.

As reported by The Dispatch, there have been particular problems in Armley and Rodley over the past 12 months – and council chiefs hope they may have come up with a hi-tech solution.

Armley stone theft
Yorkshire Stone thefts in Armley. Photo: Andy Parnham/Facebook

Working in partnership with crime-prevention company SmartWater, public stone flags across Leeds will be sprayed with a forensic traceable liquid which carrying an identifiable forensic code.

The spray helps police link criminals to any thefts which have taken place.

The liquid will be able to confirm not only that the flags belong to the council, but also where in the city they were taken from.

The move by the council is in response to a rise in the number of public paving stones that have had to be replaced by the authority over recent years.

Armley paving theft
Armley paving theft from March 2015. Photo: Emma Bearman

Pudsey councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said:

“The number of public paving stones that we have had to replace due to thefts in our communities has unfortunately risen in recent years.

“The results we have seen from similar initiatives that SmartWater has undertaken to help other local authorities tackle a variety of different crimes through the use of this forensic traceable liquid have been positive, and we are hopeful that this will be replicated here in Leeds.”

smartwater yorkshire stone paving thefts
Cllr Richard Lewis and SmartWater’s Steve Lloyd at the launch of the SmartWater programme to tackle paving stone thefts in the city this week

Last August, The Dispatch reported how frustrated Armley residents had taken to writing on their Yorkshire Stone paving slabs in a bid to deter thieves.

yorkshire stone theft armley
Armley residents took to writing on paving to deter thieves. Photo: Louise Cunningham

Anyone who sees anything suspicious should call police on 101.


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