Residents speechless in valuable slab theft

RESIDENTS were left ‘bewildered’ when they discovered 60 18th century flagstones, valued at more than £10,000, had been removed from their rose garden.

“I crossed over the road to see and it looked like someone had nicked the garden,” said Paul Walker, of Brooklands in New Salts Farm Road, Shoreham.

SH 020115 18th Century slabs stolen from rose garden, New Salts Farm Road, Shoreham. Residents Paul Walker and  Joanna Silsby in the rose garden. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150201-121644001

SH 020115 18th Century slabs stolen from rose garden, New Salts Farm Road, Shoreham. Residents Paul Walker and Joanna Silsby in the rose garden. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150201-121644001

Previously a club and farm house built in 1753, Brooklands now serves as flats for several residents, who all enjoyed a beautiful rose garden adorned with original flagstone slabs and a church font.

However, on the morning of Monday, December 29, resident Joanna Silsby, who has lived in Brooklands since the 1980s, ventured into the garden and notice that her usual path had disappeared.

“I went outside about 10am and I noticed that the gate was open and I looked down the path and saw that there were no slabs,” she said. “They took them because they’re old. It must have been targeted.”

Mr Walker said that it was not often he was left speechless.

He said: “I’m in complete bewilderment.

“The slabs would have been there when the property was built back in the 1700s.

“We had a lovely path and it was 100 metres long, but they have pretty much removed everything.”

Mrs Silsby’s husband, Paul, said the whole incident was like a practical joke.

“It must have taken hours to remove them,” he said. “They are big, nearly five inches thick and two blokes would have trouble lifting them.”

Mr Silsby claimed that the criminals must have broken through the neighbouring farm’s fence and entered the property with a vehicle, while all the residents were away for the Christmas season.

Sussex Police are looking for witnesses to the incident.

A spokesperson said: “At 10.30am on Monday, December 29, we received a report that since sometime on Sunday, December 28, 60 solid stone flagstones valued at £180 each had been lifted and stolen from the front of a property in New Salts Farm Road. There have been no arrests.

“Anyone who saw what happened or has information is asked to contact police via 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101 quoting serial 374 of 29/12.