Watch as 'disgusted' son explains his fury after desecration of his South Shields mother's grave by vandals, flower thieves and defecating dogs

A doting son is “furious” after the mindless vandalism of his mother’s grave including damaging ornaments, allowing dogs to foul on the area she’s buried and even stealing a bouquet of flowers left in tribute on Christmas Eve.

Violet Redpath died on June 5, 2019, after an 11 year battle with cancer and was buried in Harton Cemetery where son Anthony Redpath, 49, visits every Saturday to speak to his mother and tend to her grave.

Anthony, from South Shields, is “disgusted” at the actions which have desecrated his mother’s final resting place.

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He said: “The problems started in the summer when my dad, who visits the grave every Friday, brought six sunflowers. I went the following morning and there were only two left. Three had gone and another had its head knocked off.

"A few weeks later I bought an artificial bouquet of a dozen roses which I placed on my mother’s grave only to find a week later they had been taken. Since then we’ve had ornaments smashed and plants ripped up.”

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However it was the “shameless” incident on Christmas Eve which led to Anthony contacting the police.

He added: “I always bring flowers and a card to my mam’s grave on Christmas Eve. It’s my way of remembering her and feeling close. I’d bought a white lily bouquet which I put in a vase on her grave.

Anthony Redpath alongside his mother Violet's grave which has been targeted by thieves and vandals.

"My dad came down on Christmas Day and called me to ask when I was bringing the flowers down. That’s when I realised they had been stolen. It’s so disrespectful and I’m furious.”

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The incident also left his 83-year-old father, Surtees, “upset”.

Anthony said: “My dad is disgusted someone would do this and said it has ruined his Christmas.

Anthony, who works as a delivery driver, also highlighted the issue of defecating dogs.

The grave of Violet Redpath which has been targeted by thieves and vandals.
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He said: “I came to the cemetery in June for my mother’s birthday and found a dog having a poo on where my mam is buried and the owners walking off and leaving it. I challenged them on it and told them it was disrespectful to my mam but they just walked away swearing. It’s also happening to other graves.”

After contacting South Tyneside Council, who own the cemetery, Anthony was directed to speak with Westoe Ward councillor Glenn Thompson.

Cllr Thompson said: “I’m aware of damage caused to graves in the cemetery and I’ve reported it to the police and the Council’s Anti-social Behaviour Team.

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Violet Redpath who passed away in 2019 at the age of 76.

"I’ve asked if the police can put on more patrols and I’ve also applied for the cemetery to go on the waiting list for portable CCTV cameras.”

A South Tyneside Council spokesperson added: “We have every sympathy with this family. To damage or take from a grave is extremely disrespectful and distressing for bereaved loved ones.

“We would remind people it’s an offence to deliberately interfere with any grave, memorial, flowers or plants”.

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A statement from Northumbria Police said: “At around 10.15am on Sunday, December 25, police received a report of theft at Harton Cemetery.

“It was reported flowers had been taken from a grave between 12.30pm on December 24 and 9.45am on December 25.

"Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police using the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of their website or calling 101 and quoting reference 150855X/22.”