Stone thefts have reached ‘epidemic rates in Hyndburn’ and are damaging our ‘national infrastructure and heritage’, residents and community leaders have warned.
Calls have been made for the government to create legislation which would mean that all stone merchants and transporters of stone are accountable in the same way as scrap metal dealers.
Dozens of stones were stolen from the tops of walls at Accrington railway station last week.
It follows a spate of other paving stone thefts in Accrington, Church and Oswaldtwistle in recent months.
In a formal question submitted to a Hyndburn council meeting this week, former Huncoat councillor Nick Whittaker called on the council to work with MP Graham Jones to create stronger legislation to tackle the problem.
Mr Whittaker said: “This issue is at epidemic rates in Hyndburn and it would seem obvious and sensible to me that we mirror image the Scrap Metal Act for this particular issue.”
Mr Jones said stone theft is a ‘scourge on society’ and claimed that the loss of 1,000 police officers across Lancashire ‘has limited resources in tackling such crimes’.
In a statement read to the council meeting by leader Miles Parkinson, Mr Jones said: “Just like metal theft, stone theft is a scourge on society because of its potentially dangerous consequences on public safety.
“The theft of our national infrastructure and heritage is unacceptable. Stone theft is not a victimless crime.
“Locally, I have continued to report stone theft to the police and have been helped by local councillors and former councillors including Dave Parkins and June Harrison.
“However, huge cuts to police funding and the loss of 21,000 officers nationwide under a Tory government has limited resources in tackling such crimes.
"Nearly 1,000 police officers have been lost in Lancashire.
“The government has no policy on tackling stone theft despite promising to tack action on June 22, 2015, in the House of Commons.”
Lancashire Police said the stone theft at Accrington train station has not been reported to them.
A spokesperson said: “We always ask the public to report any acts of vandalism or theft to us.
“Where a crime has been committed we will investigate and take steps to identify those responsible.”