RESIDENTS battling a plan to build a police headquarters in their village have spoken of their dismay after thieves stole protest signs from their gardens.

Police are investigating after eight wooden signs were taken from properties in South Kilvington, where North Yorkshire Police aims to move its base to and create a custody suite.

South Kilvington and District Action Group said thieves struck some time after 1am on Sunday, May 4, and took all the campaign placards near the main road in the village, which has a population of about 220.

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It is the second time in three months that thieves have stolen campaign signs, while others have been vandalised and a large banner was slashed.

Action group secretary Joy Davies, who had her sign stolen from a flower tub, said: “We have named whoever is behind this as the Phantom Placard Pincher as they have left no trace.

“Whoever is was must have had a vehicle because we couldn’t find the signs, so they must have been collected up and used on a bonfire.

“It is possible that it is somebody who is against the campaign, but if that is the case we would urge the person to come and talk to us, rather than do this sort of thing.”

Mrs Davies said the group would probably replace the signs to highlight their views ahead of a decision by the force and Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan over whether to apply for planning permission to build the base on an eight-acre field overlooking the village.

Police urged anyone with information about the stolen signs to call 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.