Brazen thieves steal 50 yards of cop­ing stones in mid­dle of night

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Commended For Quick-thinking - By Ai­dan Bar­low

Vil­lagers are fu­ri­ous af­ter thieves wield­ing ham­mers stole unique cop­ing stones from a his­toric wall.

The thieves drove a Transit van down The Street and Bethers­den Road in Hoth­field dur­ing the early hours of Tues­day.

Res­i­dents re­ported hear­ing the loud bangs as the gang hacked away the bricks from the wall, be­fore bundling them into the van and driv­ing fur­ther along the wall.

One res­i­dent said: “It’s a his­toric wall that has stood for over 100 years. There were loud thump­ing and bang­ing noises.

“We thought it might just have been work­men check­ing some­thing, but in the morn­ing we found that 35 yards of cap­stones had gone, and more had gone fur­ther down the road.”

Farmer John Cole, who lives nearby, said the in­ci­dent hap­pened at 3am where the thieves had specif­i­cally stolen the rounded bricks which lay on top of the wall.

He said in to­tal about 50 yards has been dam­aged along two stretches, leav­ing the mor­tar and wall be­low ex­posed to the el­e­ments.

Hoth­field’s bor­ough coun­cil­lor Larry Krause said: “I’ve never heard of any­thing like this hap­pen­ing, where peo­ple have ac­tu­ally tried to knock the wall apart to steal it.

“The wall has been there for a very long time, so it’s dis­ap­point­ing that some­thing that has stood for as long as it has, has been sense­lessly tar­geted.”

Other res­i­dents said they could see the men, and con­tacted the po­lice later on Tues­day to alert them of the crime, but fear reprisals from the cul­prits.

Mr Krause added: “I hope that re­port­ing the crime doesn’t en­cour­age them to think about re­peat­ing this sort of hooli­gan­ism.

“I would en­cour­age peo­ple to use their cam­era phones to take pic­ture of the al­leged of­fend­ers so that we have got the in­for­ma­tion and ev­i­dence to give to the po­lice, no mat­ter what the crime is.”

On Tues­day evening, a po­lice com­mu­nity sup­port of­fi­cer was car­ry­ing out in­quiries in the area, and Kent Po­lice spokesman Sally Smith said an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was on­go­ing.

Hoth­field bor­ough coun­cil­lor Larry Krause, above, is ap­palled at the theft of Vic­to­rian cop­ing stones

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