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