Security has been stepped up at Sleaford Cemetery following a spate of ‘sickening’ thefts from graves.
A number of recent incidents at the Ashfield Road cemetery has seen several sentimental ornaments stolen and relatives left in distress.
Resident Lucy Ramm was devastated to discover someone had stolen a heavy Buddha statue from her nan’s grave.
“It was my nan’s favourite Buddha so I am devastated that someone has stolen it,” said Lucy, 29. “We placed it at the top of the grave as a temporary headstone. The person who took it is the lowest of the low. We hope to return it to the grave before my 89 year-old grandad goes down to visit his wife’s grave and finds it missing. We have not told him as it would be too upsetting to him and he has very ill health.”
Another resident, Duncan McDermid discovered his hand-painted stone cat was missing from his parents’ grave. Referring to the thieves as ‘scumbags’, Mr McDermid said: “I got the cat when my dad died in May 1999. I painted it myself originally and it stayed on the grave until my mum passed away in September 2015. I had the cat repainted in the same way as one of my mother’s cats. My family are extremely upset that how people can sink so low. It would be great to have it back as it’s unique.”
Some of the victims have taken to social media to voice their anger on the Sleaford Facebook page, with others reporting smashed memorials and anti-social behaviour at the cemetery site.
Chrissy Ford reported a Nottingham Forest FC gnome stolen from her uncle’s grave, commenting, “What kind of sick human being steals off graves?”
Speaking to The Standard, she added: “I would ask the thief why they took it as it wasn’t worth a great deal money-wise. It was more sentimental to my uncle as he was a life-long Forest fan.”
Facebook user Ann-marie Honey commented: “It is getting beyond a joke now - that’s four times in two weeks - how anyone could stoop so low is beyond me.”
Responding to concerns, Sleaford Town Council issued the following statement: “Following a number of recent incidents at the cemetery, the Town Council has arranged for security patrols to be made at the burial ground. These will start with immediate effect - a number of other security measures will also be put in place.”
They added: “The council remains in close contact with the local police and NKDC’s Community Safety Team regarding the thefts from grave tops and other anti-social behaviour at the cemetery.”
The authority asks that further incidents be reported to them on 01529 303456, on email email@example.com, or via their Facebook page.