Police, and the owners of a historic manor house in Rochdale, are appealing for information as part of an investigation into the theft of thousands of pounds’ worth of stolen York stones.

Alarge amount of York stone was stolen from historic family gardens that date back centuries.

An investigation is underway and no arrests have yet been made.

The custodians of Hopwood Hall, and investigators, are today appealing for information from anyone that could aid police enquiries.

Constable Stuart Ockwell, of GMP’s Rochdale division, said: “This theft is significant, not just because of the financial value of the property that has been stolen, but also due to its historic meaning to the people of Middleton and beyond.

“These stones were almost certainly originally laid by great-grandparents of current Middleton residents and therefore is of particular significance.

“This is not an isolated incident as several historical locations within the Middleton area have also been targeted, and enquiries into those incidents are ongoing.

“We are keen to hear from anyone who may have information about this incident so that we are able to bring to justice those responsible for this utterly insensitive and inconsiderate crime.”

The house is the ancestral home of actor Hopwood DePree, who said: “I am very upset about the theft of the flagstones; it is shocking and appalling that someone would have such disregard for the heritage of the community.

“We are working closely with the police, council and college to track down the thieves through security footage and tips.

“We ask that those responsible find it within them to do the right thing and return these significant items which mean so much to so many people in this area.

“Due to the current Covid situation, there has been less foot traffic allowing offenders to make their way in. It is unfortunate and sad that someone would take advantage of a bad situation for their own personal gain.

“The amount of money someone could sell the stones for is a fraction of the cost of what it would be to replace them, not to mention there is a sentimental and historical link to the original stones which makes this a tragedy.”


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