LARGE slate slabs have been stolen in what appear to be night-time raids on two areas of Delabole.
One, a 6ft x 2ft wide slab, was taken from the wall of the Pengelly Memorial Garden while three others, 5ft x 2ft, were taken from outside local authority bungalows in Water Lane.
The three in Water Lane had been concreted in when the bungalows were built, so the thieves must have used tools to dislodge them, residents believed.
The thefts are part of a growing pattern of garden ornaments and other property being removed from parks and gardens in North Cornwall and other areas, as the price of such items increases. All had originally come from the Delabole Slate Quarry in the village.
"The slates were on the wall in front of my property," said Chris Finnemore, one of the residents.
"They were a good half an inch thick and concreted in, so someone must have used a crow bar to lift them as they were very heavy."
"We noticed they were gone on Tuesday, and the thieves must have used a vehicle to take them away.
"They were definitely there on Friday, so we think they were taken at some time over the weekend.
"No one saw them so they must have done it at night.
"The slates were right next door to my bungalow, and if I had seen someone there doing anything I would have asked them what's going on?"
"It looks awful now – all jagged edges and concrete."
Nigel Hicks noticed a large slate had gone from the Pengelly Memorial Garden adjoining the former chapel where he runs his carpentry and joinery business.
"The chapel was built in 1870, so I think the slates must have been here since then," he said.
"I think the big slab was taken overnight on Sunday or Monday. Those slabs have been here all those years, and for someone to take one is a sad old job."
There have been reports of more large slate slabs missing from other areas in Delabole over the past few days.
Police at Camelford said the theft of 250 slates, worth £750, from a barn conversion at Lesnewth, near Boscastle, and five large slates from West Down Road, Delabole, had also been reported over the same period.
PC Laurie O'Toole, of Camelford, said it appeared the thieves drove around and spotted the slates during the day and returned under cover of darkness to steal them. He appealed to people to take the number of any suspicious vehicles in their area.
Anyone with information should call 101, quoting crime reference BC/12/45.
(Reproduced from ThisIsCornwall 23rd Feb)
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