Thieves have stolen so many coveted Yorkstone paving slabs that Leeds City Council has begun forensically marking the stones.

Reclaimed Yorkstone, made from natural sandstone which comes from Yorkshire mills and quarries that have worked since the Middle Ages, is known for its durability, quality and attractive naturally weathered look.

It can only be mined from Yorkshire quarries and retails at hundreds of pounds per square metre.

The stone is used to pave much of Leeds but soaring thefts of the paving slabs cost taxpayers tens of thousands every year, councillor Helen Hayden said.

The council has decided to mark each flagstone with SmartWater technology made by firm DeterTech, a traceable liquid invisible to the naked eye that glows under ultra-violet light.

The stone is used to pave much of Leeds but soaring thefts of the paving slabs cost taxpayers tens of thousands every year (File Photo)

The stone is used to pave much of Leeds but soaring thefts of the paving slabs cost taxpayers tens of thousands every year (File Photo)

The liquid lasts for a minimum of five years and enables police to trace stolen slabs back to the streets from where they were taken.

DeterTech said its SmartWater has a 100 per cent conviction rate when used as evidence in contested court cases.

And its director of commercial operations, Gary Higgins, said there should be an instant reduction in the thefts once the scheme is rolled out.

‘Anybody stupid enough to ignore this warning should know we are putting police in the best possible position to convict them,’ he added.

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