Historic graves are wrecked by yobs
HISTORIC graves at Macclesfield Cemetery have been wrecked during a rampage by ‘mindless’ yobs.
Staff at the cemetery on Prestbury Road arrived at work on Monday morning to find 22 historic headstones vandalised.
Some of the graves are near the old chapel and date back to when the cemetery was first opened in 1866 and are irreplaceable.
A tall conifer was also torched and pipes for supplying water to visitors were damaged during the crime spree on Sunday night.
It is latest blow to the cemetery which has been hit by a number of breakins and incidents of criminal damage over recent months.
There are now calls for urgent improvement to security, including the installation of CCTV cameras.
The cemetery is run by Orbitas, an arms-length company owned Cheshire East Council.
Councillor Lesley Smetham, deputy chairman of Orbitas, said: “This mindless vandalism in the cemetery is to be deplored.
“It’s upsetting for relatives to see memorials desecrated.
“Staff work hard at keeping the cemetery a beautiful and peaceful last resting place for their loved ones.
“This despicable behaviour will not be tolerated and we will be doing everything in our power to stop it.”
Also expressing his shock was David Rutley, MP for Macclesfield.
He said: “It’s a shocking display of vandalism which you wouldn’t expect in Macclesfield.
“It shows a complete disrespect for the families of those whose graves were damaged.”
In February, vandals targeted Macclesfield Cre-
by matorium by cutting telephone lines and lighting cables before scorching a swear word into the door of the chapel.
In April two teenagers were caught by police smoking cannabis near the entrance to Macclesfield Crematorium as a funeral was taking place.
There have been regular reports of drug dealers operating in the quite corners of the cemetery and earlier this month the maintenance yard was broken into and equipment stolen.
Coun Ainsley Arnold, who represents Tytherington ward for Cheshire East Council, said security must be improved.
He said: “I am appalled by this wanton vandalism.
“I have raised the issue of improvement to security such as CCTV but we must move forward to protect the cemetery buildings and to gives us oversight of those causing damage.”
Some of the smashed gravestones at Macclesfield Cemetery, parts of which date back to the opening of the cemetery in 1866
●● MP David Rutley described the damage as a ‘shocking display of vandalism’