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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Historic liberty stone vanishes
Picton liberty stone
The stone features the old spelling of Pickton
An historic stone marking the boundary of a North Yorkshire village has dissappeared, police say.

The liberty stone, a stone used to mark parish boundaries, had marked Picton village for more than 150 years.

Police said removing the stone would have been a huge feat and would probably have required specialist lifting gear.

The stone, which measures 2ft above ground and another 2ft below, is believed to be worth a substantial sum.

Police believe it may have been taken into Teesside.

The stone bears the inscription 'Pickton Liberty starts here' on one side and 'Pickton Liberty ends here' on the other.

The 'k' was dropped from the village spelling 150-years-ago.

Pc Lee Allenby of Northallerton Police said: "This was no impulse or opportunity theft.

"I believe it would have taken several people, lifting gear, or both to haul it out of the ground and onto a vehicle.

"It is a shame a little piece of our history has stood there for all those years, then is ripped out of the ground and carried away for a sake of a few pounds."

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