TYKE artist Ashley Jackson is backing a campaign to raise awareness of the problem of stone thefts, which have plagued Bradford residents.

The campaign, which starts today - Yorkshire Day - is asking people to report to Crimestoppers when they see the removal of stone or stone roofing tiles, even though it may look like perfectly legitimate activity, and help keep Yorkshire’s iconic landscape out of the hands of thieves.

Mr Jackson said: “These aren’t just stone walls; these are sculptures of our heritage across the heart of Yorkshire. They are being stolen because of greed. Everybody’s got a telephone nowadays – use your telephone to protect Yorkshire.”

Residents can contact Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or by completing an online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Only weeks ago, residents in the Perseverance Lane area of Great Horton revealed how they had been repeatedly targeted by stone thieves, who even stole flags from people's roofs, as well as garden paths and public pavements.

Councils, West Yorkshire Police and Crimestoppers have joined together to tackle the problem of stone theft.

Inspector Mark Trueman, Rural Neighbourhood Policing Team Commander, said: “As with any crime, there is always a victim and stone theft is no exception. Sadly, not only will the owner of the stone be a victim, so will our great county of Yorkshire. Once the stone has gone from an area, it has gone forever; which leaves a change in our landscape.

“It’s only a few weeks ago that Yorkshire became the focal point for the world's media when the Tour de France came visiting. The landscape was an awesome sight with the fantastic scenery showing Yorkshire in its full glory, complete with its Yorkshire stone.

“I would ask if you see anyone removing stone, whether it looks legitimate or not, please contact ourselves on 101 or Crimestoppers to leave the information anonymously."