Plea for CCTV to catch York stone thieves in Wigan

Ian Darrington in his garden
Ian Darrington in his garden

The organiser of one of Wigan’s best-known music events is appealing for public help to catch thieves who stole stone flags from his home.

Ian Darrington, who is in charge of Wigan International Jazz Festival, is asking for anyone with CCTV cameras to scrutinise their footage following the brazen raid in the middle of the night in Swinley.

The van used to carry away the stolen flags

The van used to carry away the stolen flags

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Offenders got into the back garden of his Wigan Lane house and dug up more than a dozen York stone flags before getting away with a haul worth more than £750.

The incident happened at around 3am last Monday and it is thought the same offenders also targeted a property on nearby Springfield Street before heading off in the direction of Standish.

Mr Darrington has now managed to locate some CCTV footage of the vehicle used in the theft and is urging anyone who could help bring those responsible to justice.

He said: “I heard a noise in the night but unfortunately didn’t wake up fully. When we went down the following morning we noticed about 13 or 14 quite big York stone flags had been removed.

“I would love to prevent future occurrences of this and get these people sorted out.

“It’s a great concern to us because the flags were laid down and removing them isn’t easy to do. These people have sussed this out and people in Swinley and around Wigan need to be extra vigilant and watch for any suspicious circumstances.

“I went to anybody who had a security camera and we’ve been able to find photos of the vehicle involved.

“However, I’m still asking if anyone on Wigan Lane between New Lodge and the Boar’s Head has security cameras switched on 24 hours.

“I’m wondering if the Cherry Gardens, the hospital or just private businesses or residences might be able to help. What we are looking for is the registration number of the van. If we get that we can go back to the police with it.”

CCTV images collected by Mr Darrington show what appears to be a small white Vauxhall van with its rear suspension sitting low due to the considerable weight of the flags in the back.

Mr Darrington said two youngish men were seen by a neighbour hanging around in the area just before 3am.

He estimates at least three offenders must be involved, with two people required to dig up and move the heavy stones and possibly another to drive the vehicle.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed officers were called to reports of the theft.

Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to ring 101, quoting reference 1096 from September 24.