A community has spoken of its shock after learning flagstones laid in and around church grounds were stolen. Thieves targeted the slabs, made of Yorkstone, at St Thomas a Becket in Warblington – a place known for its beauty. It’s thought the theft took place at night on Monday or in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday. Inside the churchyard four slabs were stolen and three others dug up and moved.
The slabs that made up the pavement outside the church yard wall have been ripped out and taken. Christopher Morrison, one of the church’s wardens, said: ‘It’s so disappointing to know people want to and are capable of doing things like this. ‘The church is about 1,000 years old and it’s in an area of outstanding natural beauty. ‘Inside the church grounds there are a block of six slabs that’ve been tampered with. Two were stolen and another four taken out, but left behind.
A spokeswoman for Hampshire County Council said: ‘We were very sorry to hear of the theft of these flagstones from the church grounds, and the damage done. The flagstones on the roadside of the church wall are the responsibility of the county council and cost several thousand pounds. Our highways teams will repair the footpath, but as special materials may need to be sourced, this could take some time, so a temporary footpath may be required in the interim. We would ask residents to be alert to anyone trying to sell or install flagstones in the area, and to report any concerns they may have to the police on 101.’