10 Jan 2020

Police investigating the theft of ancient bluestone from the Preseli mountains discovered the stolen rock being used as a garden feature 10 miles down the road.

Officers were able to trace the culprits thanks to a quick-thinking witness who recorded the theft, capturing the registration number of their car.

A reminder is now being issued that it is illegal to remove bluestone – which is believed to have spiritual and healing powers – from its natural area.

Preseli hills

Preseli hills

Inspector Reuben Palin, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said: “While we are aware that bluestone is regularly taken from the Preseli area, it is not easy to find out who is taking it, or where it is going.

“This case was quite unusual in that there was actually a witness to the theft, who swiftly started filming while the stone was dug up and put into a car.

“We would like to thank the witness for acting so quickly, and for providing us with the evidence we needed to recover the stone.”

Police received a call reporting two men in the process of taking a piece of bluestone from Mynachlog-ddu at around 3pm on Sunday, December 29.

A review of CCTV covering the area showed the men digging the stone up and putting it in the boot of their car. Additional video footage provided by the witness captured the vehicle’s registration number, allowing officers to trace the suspects’ home address.

Enquiries led to a house in the Narberth area, where a large rock – which appeared to be bluestone – could be seen in the front garden. The stone was seized as evidence, and subsequently returned to a chapel which has taken ownership.

When spoken to, the person responsible admitted they had taken the stone, and was unaware that it was illegal to remove bluestone from the area.

Words of advice were given, and police are now urging others to leave the stones in their rightful place.

“While it might not seem like taking bluestone is causing any harm, it is in fact illegal,” Inspector Palin said.

“These ancient stones are part of the Mynydd Preseli Site of Special Scientific Interest and Preseli Special Area of Conservation, and it is a crime to take them.

“In the past we have had people taking bluestone for the spiritual and healing property it is believed to possess, and in this case a large stone was taken for decoration purposes.

“We urge visitors to the area to respect the area, and not to remove anything for personal or financial gain.”