The moment an ornate stone gate post topping was taken under cover of darkness has been caught on CCTV.
Residents living on Collingwood Avenue, Layton, awoke to the unusual crimes yesterday.
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The heavy decorative items were taken in the early hours, leaving the brick gateposts bare.
Police have confirmed they received two reported thefts on the street at around 5.40am yesterday, although one victim said he believed as many as 10 or 12 of the items – worth hundreds of pounds each – had been taken.
The CCTV footage, which has been passed to police, shows a man loosening one of the decorative toppers before looking around furtively.
He then lifts it from the gate post and bundles it into the back of a waiting car.
One of the victims, who asked not to be named, said: “There are about 10 houses that have had them taken.
“They are worth between £300 and £400 apiece – they’ve had a nice evening.”
The items are thought to date back to around the 1950s and decorate the gate posts along the street.
Police officers were on the street yesterday conducting enquiries. The CCTV shows one of the thieves test one gate post topping to see if it is loose before moving on to the next one.
It is thought a silver Ford estate car was used to take the items away from the scene.
A Lancashire Police spokesman confirmed that as of yesterday morning, two incidents had been reported.
They added: “One man reported having his stolen at 5.40am. Another one was reported at 10.25am.”
Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to contact police on 101, quoting log 367 of August 28.