A COLNE councillor and member of the House of Lords has accused thieves from Yorkshire of carrying out cross border metal raids in Lancashire.

Lord Greaves was speaking during a debate on the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill in the Lords and said that police were concerned about ‘raiding parties’ coming over the border.

He said: “We hear accounts from the local police, who are obviously involved in all this, that raiding parties from over the border in Yorkshire often come and take away all this stuff.

“This seems to be their excuse, although it appears that people do come over the border from Yorkshire and steal our stuff. It is not just metal either. Metal theft is just part and parcel of a wider problem.”

At one point during the debate Lord Willis of Knaresborough, who was born in Burnley, said he objected ‘very strongly to these appalling assertions about the people of Yorkshire’.

But Lord Greaves said: “As a Yorkshireman living in Lancashire, I sometimes find myself with dual loyalties. However, I can assure my noble friend that it is not Yorkshire as a whole that people blame: it is specifically people from Bradford. As a Bradfordian, I still have dual loyalties there.

“Obviously, this Bill is just about metal. However, people steal not just metal but stone. Colne is a stone town and people will come and remove copings from people's back yards and flagstones.

“They came to the parish church and raided not just the lead from the roof but took the big stone balls which were on top of the gate pillars outside the church. We are talking about a grade one listed building. So it is a huge problem.

“The most ludicrous example occurred last week. The council had just provided new turf to grass over a rather overgrown area where houses had been pulled down.

“Some people came, possibly over the border from Yorkshire, rolled up some of the new turf and took it away. It is quite extraordinary what people will do. I am not quite sure whether they wanted it for their cricket pitches in Yorkshire.”

During the debate Lord Greaves also spoke about the theft of metal gully grates.

He said: “One of the main problems in my part of the world in East Lancashire is the theft of metal gully grates.

“That obviously causes great danger to people and expense to Lancashire County Council, which has to replace them.

“However, in many cases the county council refuses to replace them because they are in unadopted streets, and so potentially there could be, literally all over the place, very dangerous large square holes, particularly in back streets, which at this time of the year will be full of leaves and litter.”