Calls for CCTV at a city cemetery
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.
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)