A PATH leading to the home of elderly residents has been left impossible to walk on after it was targeted by stone thieves.

Residents living in Gawthorpe in Blackburn are concerned after around 50 flagstones were stolen from paths in the area in recent days.

As well as the flagstones being taken from the path leading up to the houses, thieves later returned to steal stones from garden paths.

One resident, who has lived on the street since 1952, said the spate of thefts has had a large impact on people in the area.

Rita Kay, 88, said: “Paving stones have been stolen leaving the footpath impossible to walk on.

“It’s a real mess, you cannot use the footpath at all.

“The footpath is unadopted which causes problems.

“We all were asleep when it happened, nobody heard anything at all.

“They must have been good at what they were doing.”

Police have been informed about the incidents but enquiries are still ongoing.

The main footpath targeted leads up to a group of five houses, which have all been affected by the incidents.

Residents have said they believe the stones have been targeted by ‘expert’ thieves to sell them on and make money.

Mr Ahmed, 52, who also lives in Gawthorpe, said: “There must have been 45 to 50 paving stones from the path taken.

“Then there were 12 from my front garden as well.

“They must have parked a truck up and taken them all.

“For people to come in and take them like that it’s wrong.

“It’s really frustrating.

“It’s a crime.”

Other residents in the area who have yet to be targeted are also concerned they could be next, according to their neighbours.

Sites across East Lancashire have been subject to stone thefts across the last year, including several streets in Hyndburn.

Cllr John Wright, who represents Gawthorpe on Blackburn with Darwen Council, issued a call to residents to pass on information if they know anything.

He said: “We had a problem at the bottom of Dukes Brow a couple of years ago and the same thing happened then.

“The likelihood is they will return and hopefully we can catch them.

“It’s just so unfortunate and very brazen of them to go about it.

“A lot of residents have CCTV these days, so we’d urge everyone to check if they have any to try and spot the culprits.”

A police spokesman said: “We have taken reports of the theft of paving stones from Gawthorpe in Blackburn.“The offenders are currently unknown.“Anyone with any information should contact the police on 101 and quote the crime reference number ED1801481.”