FLAGSTONES which were stolen from Bolton Parish Church have been replaced.

Bolton Council laid 25 new stones at the church.

The congregation was horrified after thieves stole the 100-year-old York paving stones, which can fetch up to £90 per square yard at reclaimers.

Cllr John Walsh, deputy church warden, said: “The work has now been completed and firstly I want to thank the council for acting so quickly and repairing the damaged paving, it has been done to a very high standard.

“It looks better than before but it is sad that so much public money was wasted by a few heartless thieves who want to make a quick buck.

“The council maintains the churchyard and it is something that has been done as part of that duty. I have been critical of highways in the past but they have done a good job. It is a Grade II listed building so it needed to be done with matching materials.”

A Bolton Council spokesman added: “Bolton Parish Church is our responsibility as a closed churchyard and we can confirm that our highways teams worked with the church staff and carrying out repairs there.”