PLANS by hard-working volunteers to create a footpath up the Twines in Keighley have been hit by alleged thieves.

Timber piled at the side of Thwaites Brow Road was taken on the eve of work to create steps up the steep and winding hill.

The team – dubbed the Friends of the Twines – have spent weeks clearing overgrowth and rubbish in readiness for creating the path.

Local businesses donated materials or equipment, or sent workers with JCBs, lorries and wood-chipping machines to help with the backbreaking task.

They helped clear undergrowth, provided gravel for the footpath surfacing and planks for the edging, removed overgrown vegetation and dead trees, and donated stone to create plinths for benches.

The volunteers, who mostly live in the Thwaites Brow and Long Lee area, were already fighting a battle against fly tippers who continue to dump rubbish on remote parts of the Twines despite their efforts to clear up the area.

Long Lee resident Paul Cook, leading light of the Friends campaign, this week said he was “absolutely devastated” to learn of the disappearance.

He said: “It’s broken my heart that someone has stolen the timber. It was pretty evil.

“Now we plan to put massive flags down so that they’re too big to be stolen. Keighley Town Council is looking at getting cameras to catch fly tippers – they’re a scourge on society too.

“There’s a lot of work going on to improve Long Lee, good decent Keighley people coming together. We have volunteers to lay the steps.”

Mr Cook said the footpath was being created from a rough track running alongside Thwaites Brow Road – known as The Twines – that has been used by local people for many years.

A kind-hearted local person donated some reclaimed timber sleepers to be used for steps on the steepest part of the path, with other planks providing an edging for the gravel path.

Mr Cook, whose comnpany Melia Powell funeral directors has provided staff to help, was heartened to receive support from Keighley companies in the aftermath of the theft.

He said: “I phoned Nelsons Builders Merchants and they said I should give them a shopping list and they’d provide everything I needed.”

Mr Cook paid tribute to local companies who have provided support, including Nelsons, building contractor Stuart Currie, road specialists Ward Plane and furniture makers Pineoakio.

He said: “They all offered help when I asked. They jumped to it, no hesitation at all. We need more companies coming forward to help us. There’s a lot more to do, but we need the volunteers.”

Anyone willing to help with the improvements should visit the Friends of the Twines page on Facebook.