'˜Soul-destroying' cemetery theft at resting place already hit by vandals

A group whch helped turn around a South Tyneside cemetery after it was hit by vandals has now been targeted by thieves.

Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 6:26 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 6:35 am
Friends of Hebburn Cemetery group are angry over stolen plants From left vice-chair Trish Conway and Judith Pickering

For the past year Friends of Hebburn Cemetery has worked to raise the funds to install CCTV cameras in the grounds and spent countless hours sprucing up the place for those wishing to spend time remembering loved ones.

The group received the backing of a number of businesses based in the town – including Superior Interiors, who donated two planters which were placed outside the chapel.

One of the pots stolen from the cemetery

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Lights were bought by one of the members to help create a feature.

The planters had been in place for less than a week when they were stolen by thieves overnight on Sunday – leaving the group angered and disappointed.

Vice-chairwoman of the Friends of Hebburn Cemetery group Trish Conway said: “We had two planters outside the chapel which have now been stolen.

“They were both donated by Superior Interiors as part of the work we are doing to clean up the area for families.

One of the pots stolen from the cemetery

“They are 3ft and were filled with bricks at the bottom. They have been in place for less than a week and they’ve been taken.

“Everything was thrown onto the ground – whoever has taken them must have had a van with them.”

She added: “We are all absolutely distraught.

“What we have achieved since we started and the improvements we have made to the cemetery have been phenomenal – so to have someone come along and do this it’s soul destroying.

“It’s nothing to do with the cost, it’s the sentiment behind why we had them in the first place.

“We are all trying hard to create a lovely resting place for our relatives, where we can come and remember them, and then you have people who think they can come along and take what they want.”

The group was created following a vandal attack in the cemetery in February where families had discovered the graves of their 
loved ones had been desecrated.