THIEVES ripped up Yorkstone flags from two driveways in Horwich in the space of one night.

They struck overnight in Melbourne Grove, Horwich,while the homeowners were asleep.

In both incidents, the whole pathway was pulled up, leaving the dirt beneath on display.

The theft has left one homeowner, who did not wish to be named, shocked and devastated.

She said: “They have taken the full path and I am going to have to find the money from somewhere to replace them.

“It is just mud outside the front door.”

She added: “We did not hear anything and only noticed when my son was going out.

“I didn’t sleep the following night because I was listening out for any little noise.”

She added: “I had no idea that these flag stones were worth anything, but I have been told there are worth several hundreds of pounds.

“There are always cars parked on this road so I don’t know where they had parked their vehicle to carry the flags to.”

There have been a spate of thefts of Yorkstone flags ­— including previous such incidents in Horwich ­— in recent years with churches and community centres among those that have been targeted.

John Crowther, aged 74, also woke up on Tuesday last week to find Yorkstone flags had been taken from outside his home.

He said: “It is frustrating and annoying that this has happened.

“I am going to have to go and get some new flags because I do not want to leave it as it is.

“It just goes to show that people will steal anything, they just do not care.

“They must have had a vehicle to carry the weight of those things.

“They have clearly gone up the street looking for Yorkstone because they have left the more modern stuff.”

Yorkstone, which is around £40 to £65 per square metre, has become popular with thieves due to its value.

It is made from a variety of sandstone that is quarried in Yorkshire, and is used across the country for paving outside properties.