Calls for CCTV at a city ceme­tery

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Hobson's Choice - By KIRSTEN BEACOCK

WOR­RIED relatives are de­mand­ing se­cu­rity mea­sures be in­stalled at a city ceme­tery af­ter thieves des­e­crated two graves in just one week.

The move has been sparked by fears the two thefts at East­field Ceme­tery could just be the tip of the ice­berg and that an­other fam­ily might be put through the trauma.

One an­gry rel­a­tive, Pat Howard, has event started a pe­ti­tion call­ing for Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil to in­stall CCTV at the grave­yard.

Of­fi­cials have branded the thefts “de­spi­ca­ble” and have put up notices around the ceme­tery warn­ing grave own­ers of the risk of theft and ad­vis­ing them to in­sure their memo­ri­als, but they say CCTV would not be a de­ter­rent on the large site.

Cam­paigner Penny Thorn­ton ar­rived at her mother, Pa­tri­cia Shears’ grave at lunchtime on Sun­day to find a bronze statue, which was se­cured to the grave­stone, had been stolen some time be­tween then and her last visit on June 5.

Mrs Thorn­ton, who lives in Glin­ton, said she had found the theft in­cred­i­bly “dis­turb­ing”.

She said: “Who would do some­thing like that? It shows a to­tal lack of re­spect. My mother died three years ago, which is bad enough, but what hap­pens if this hap­pens to the fam­ily of some­body who has re­cently died? It does not bear think­ing about.

“My dear mother was very ill be­fore she died and I liked to think she was now at last in peace – so for this to hap­pen is aw­ful.”

The theft is the sec­ond grave to be des­e­crated within the space of one week al­though po­lice are stressing they are not link­ing the two thefts.

Last Thurs­day Kelvin McIn­tyre (45), of Saxon Road, East­field, was jailed for 28 days at Peter­bor­ough Mag­is­trates’ Court for steal­ing two trea­sured bronze an­gels from a grave in East­field Ceme­tery and sell­ing them on for just £10.

Emma Smith (25) and her fam­ily, who visit nearly ev­ery day had been left heart­bro­ken on June 6 when they found the two an­gels had been taken from the grave of her brother, which the fam­ily had placed on the head­stone to “pro­tect”.

Fol­low­ing an ap­peal by The Evening Tele­graph, the fam­ily had the statue re­turned and now Mrs Thorn­ton has backed calls to in­crease se­cu­rity.

She added: “When I re­alised the statue had gone I spoke to two ladies who said there had been other thefts and they had started a pe­ti­tion. It got me think­ing, I go fairly fre­quently but some peo­ple can’t do that so there may be other thefts that just haven’t been dis­cov­ered.”

The stolen statue is solid bronze and de­picts “Our Lady” – Mary with a veil and hands clasped in prayer and is ap­prox­i­mately 12 inches high by about five inches wide.

David Adams, the city coun­cil’s be­reave­ment team man­ager, said: “We are ad­vis­ing fam­i­lies not to leave items that can be eas­ily re­moved or stolen.

“In re­cent years we have put up bound­ary fences at the ceme­tery and gates are locked overnight from 6pm to 9pm in the sum­mer months, and from 4pm in the win­ter.

“East­field Ceme­tery is a large area which is used as a cut through by res­i­dents, as well as fam­ily and friends of those buried there.”

“Steal­ing from graves is de­spi­ca­ble and dis­re­spect­ful and we will con­tinue to do all we can to sup­port the po­lice in catch­ing those re­spon­si­ble.”

Any­one with any in­for­ma­tion about the stolen statue should con­tact the po­lice on 0345 456 456 4.

Pic­ture: BEN DAVIS

CAM­PAIGN: Pat Howard is one of the peo­ple cam­paign­ing for im­proved se­cu­rity at East­field Ceme­tery af­ter her son’s grave was van­dalised and other items, in­clud­ing bronze an­gels, have been stolen. (METP-16-06-10BD603)

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