A COUNCIL leader has hit out ‘despicable’ thieves who stole stones from a railway station.

Hyndburn Council leader Miles Parkinson was left furious after the opportunist thieves stole the stones off the top of the walls at Accrington Railway Station.

Photographs circulated on social media after a member of the public noticed that they had been taken.

Cllr Parkinson described the thieves as despicable and cannot believe the stones were taken.

He said: “We have got a lot of stone thefts which relies on the eye and people actually seeing it happen in the vicinity and reporting it to police.

“It is just like the metal thefts that we experienced years ago and we need people to be vigilant.

“The railway station is a public building but these sort of thefts are worse for people with private property.

“They are spending their own money to make their home more attractive only for the burglars to come along and pinch the stone.

“It is so disheartening for people that they are not thinking about those people and are just trying to make some money.

“I think we also need to look at stone merchants and ask them to keep an eye out for these things being given to them.”

Meanwhile, Mark Cooper, who lives in Oswaldtwistle, was targeted three times in 12 months when thieves stole from outside his house in Lock Street.

“It’s terrible to see Accrington Station involved. It just shows they are willing to risk taking stones from big, well-lit areas not just side streets. This will only get worse and will get to a point where somebody is injured due to stone theft

“It’s a country-wide problem , there have been countless instances of stone theft over that past six months and it is increasing everywhere”

Mr Cooper believes it is hard to trace. He added: “It’s disheartening and frustrating and the police are limited in what they can do. The answer surely lies with the person receiving the stone, whether that is stone merchants or private companies trying to cost-cut .”

A spokesman for Lancashire Police 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.”