Stone raiding gangs slammed for “stealing Padiham’s heritage” are being targeted by police.
Patrols have been stepped up around the town’s historic Conservation Area which has been repeatedly hit by thieves stealing valuable stone work.
Officers have been stopping and searching vehicles suspected of being used to commit these types of offences.
Suspects are even being visited by police in a bid to curb the crime after a string of incidents saw stone flags and coping stones ripped up along Albert Street, Queen Street and Parish Street.
Sgt Mick Burnett, of Padiham Police, said: “We know there are teams within the Padiham area that are doing this stuff.
“They are not just doing it round here – they are travelling all over the place to do this. But people who commit the crime can be from out of the area.
“Sometimes they are opportunists who just come along, see it and take it.
“But we are taking preventative measures to put a stop to it.”
Sgt Burnett explained that the police sometimes find it difficult to prosecute suspected stone thieves if there is no victim or aggrieved party.
But he assured angry residents in the Conservation Area that efforts were being made to tackle the recent spate of stone thefts.
He said: “We are visiting them, we are targeting them and we are watching them.
“The enablement team is out and about in these areas. Patrols are being stepped up and stop-checks are being carried out on people we suspect of being involved.
“We can target them and make home visits to make sure they are abiding by the law.”