SICK­EN­ING SCUM STEAL FROM DEAD

Thieves have tar­geted grave twice

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - Heartless - Ian Bunting

A Coat­bridge woman has been left “ab­so­lutely dev­as­tated” af­ter cold­hearted thieves stole items from her par­ents’ grave.

The cal­lous cul­prits struck at Agnes and Alis­tair Hack­ett’s joint plot in Colts wood ceme­tery twice in re­cent weeks.

As well as tam­per­ing with ob­jects at the site, the crooks have made off with flow­ers and plants the cou­ple’s shat­tered daugh­ter Mandy Grafton spe­cially grew to place on the grave, as well as “gar­den lights and a lovely glass an­gel”.

Thieves have also swiped or­na­ments from Mandy’s un­cle Jimmy’s wife’s grave at the same ceme­tery.

The dis­traught 58-year-old told the Ad­ver­tiser: “I was in hos­pi­tal a cou­ple of weeks ago and went to visit my mum and dad’s grave when I was back on my feet. That’s when I dis­cov­ered things were miss­ing.

“Two flower pots that I had grown and put to­gether for them had been taken, along with some gar­den lights and a lovely glass an­gel.

“It also looked like the peo­ple re­spon­si­ble had moved some things and tram­pled about the site to steal the items.

“When I dis­cov­ered the thefts my un­cle Jimmy told me that some or­na­ments had been taken from his wife’s grave as well.

“I’m ab­so­lutely dev­as­tated by what has hap­pened. Steal­ing from the dead just isn’t right and there’s no way this kind of thing should hap­pen in this day and age.”

The grave thefts came shortly af­ter what would have been Agnes and Alis­tair’s 63rd wed­ding an­niver­sary and shaken Mandy has been re­luc­tant to re­turn to the ceme­tery since her or­deal.

She said: “I didn’t want to go on their an­niver­sary as I was wor­ried more things could’ve been stolen or ad­di­tional dam­age done.

“I feel like I can’t leave any­thing at the ceme­tery now in case it gets taken.

“We lost dad 12 years ago and then mum died in Fe­bru­ary last year af­ter a bat­tle with Alzheimer’s.

“We wanted them to be buried along­side each other and it’s heart­break­ing to think that they can’t be left in peace.

“I miss them both ter­ri­bly. I used to go to the shops with Mum and cooked her mealsm

“This is the last thing the fam­ily and I need right now.”

Mandy, one of Agnes and Alis­tair’s five chil­dren, has called for ex­tra se­cu­rity mea­sures to be in­tro­duced at Colts wood ceme­tery.

She said: “I don’t know if there are CCTV cam­eras but if not then there cer­tainly should be.

“I would also shut and lock the ceme­tery gates at night, although I’m well aware peo­ple could still climb over them if they re­ally wanted to.

“Per­haps they could in­tro­duce a night watch­man to keep an eye on things.

“Any­thing they can do to make fam­i­lies feel more se­cure when leav­ing things on their loved ones’ graves would be very wel­come.”

A coun­cil spokesper­son said: “In­ci­dents of theft at ceme­ter­ies are very up­set­ting for the fam­i­lies af­fected and we share Mrs Grafton’s con­cern.

“We have in­stalled CCTV at Colts wood, which we can use to try to iden­tify those re­spon­si­ble. We would ask that any in­ci­dents are re­ported to ceme­tery staff im­me­di­ately to al­low us to in­ves­ti­gate and also that visi­tors to our ceme­ter­ies re­port any un­usual ac­tiv­ity.”

A ny­one with in­for­ma­tion about the thefts can con­tact po­lice on 101 or Crimestop­pers on 0800 555 111.”

Heart­bro­ken Mandy Grafton

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