ARE drones being used by thieves to pinpoint vulnerable sites before thefts of ancient flagstones?

An Uppermill villager, who does not want to be named, said a drone was sighted near the ancient parish church of St Chad before more than 20 flagstones were taken from outside the church last night.

He said: “I believe the attack on the church was targeted. A drone had been sighted in the vicinity of the church prior to the theft.

“The thieves must have been disturbed because several flagstones wee propped up ready for taking away.

“ I reckon it will cost up to £1,000 to replace the stones at St Chad. It’s a terrible shame for the church to lose some of it’s ancient heritage.”

He added: “No doubt stones will finish up decorating someone’s garden...”

Earlier, flagstones were taken from a path near Kilngreen church in Diggle and Hill End Road Delph.

Police have been informed of the thefts and are making inquiries.

Meanwhile, locals are being asked to watch for any suspicious activity and be alert if they are having any development work done or are going on holiday.