THIEVES fled empty handed after trying to steal stone flags from a church graveyard.
The opportunist thieves attempted to take flags from the graveyard at the old Mount Zion Methodist Church, Burnley Road, Cornholme, earlier this month, but were disturbed by local residents.
The thieves attempted to strike at a time when a maintenance programme is being carried out in the graveyard.
Residents had previously contacted members of the Upper Calder Methodist Circuit to voice their concerns that some of the stones were being stolen.
Rev Tony Buglass explained that authorised contractors are on site removing stones for repair but he thanked residents for keeping an eye open and asking questions when they see stones being removed.
The circuit has decided to remove stones from the graveyard as they become slippy and dangerous when wet. Taking away the stones will keep the pathways free of moss and make the site safer for people visiting the graves of their loved ones.
A gathering is also held at the war memorial in the graveyard on Remembrance Sunday.