Hebburn residents launch CCTV appeal after cemetery outrage

Tommy Oughton at the graveside of his wife Mary.
Tommy Oughton at the graveside of his wife Mary.

A group of friends have launched an appeal to install CCTV cameras at a cemetery in South Tyneside after graves were attacked by vandals.

Families with loved ones at Hebburn Cemetery were left devastated and angry last weekend when they arrived to find headstones had been ripped up and ornaments stolen.

South Tyneside Council has announced that they will be covering the cost of putting the gravestones back up - but people in the town are bidding to raise cash to install CCTV cameras.

Friends Mark Young, Ian Houston, John Stewart, Tricia Vickers and Carole Whyte have set up a Just Giving Page which has already raised £656.

Mr Stewart, 55, of Longdean Close, Hebburn, said: “I was shocked on Sunday when I received a call to tell me that the grave of a good friend of mine - Mary Oughton - had been damaged.
“Something like this affects everybody in the town.”

Mrs Oughton’s husband, Tommy, hade the discovery on Sunday.

Mr Stewart added: added: “We have decided to raise money to get CCTV put in and are appealing for local companies to get on board with charity events.”

The page hopes to raise around £5,000 for multiple cameras, with the idea that they will link in to South Tyneside Council’s CCTV network.

Hebburn South Labour coun John McCabe said: “CCTV would put most people’s minds at ease, but it is a sad reflection on society that we have to do that.”

A council spokesman said: “We are looking at additional security options for the cemetery.

“There are a number of issues to consider regarding the installation of CCT, including the ongoing maintenance, monitoring and security of the cameras.

“However we would be happy to discuss this matter with members of the fundraising group.”

The Iona Club in Hebburn is holding a fundraising night in support of the effort on April 25 and an event will be held at the Mill Tavern in Hebburn, with the date yet to be confirmed.

To donate visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/mark-young-549