A loving son has called for greater security measures at Stonefall Cemetery after tributes he left on his mother and father’s grave were stolen.
Brendan Bebb was visiting the cemetery on Wetherby Road on Sunday, November 6, to mark the eighth anniversary of his father’s death.
However, he was shocked to find on arrival that the lanterns he had left on the grave during his previous visit had been stolen.
Mr Bebb’s mother was also buried at Stonefall Cemetery, following her death in 1995, and he has now slammed the “despicable” actions of those who are continuing to rob their graves.
He said: “It’s been happening for some time now. When mum died I used to take my dad up there and put a lantern with a candle nearly every day.
“My dad died eight years ago and we went to lay some flowers at his grave for the anniversary on Sunday. When we arrived we found the lanterns from the previous visit had gone missing.
“This is the fifth time this has happened in the last couple of years but this time has just made me think, I need to do something about it.
“My mum and dad’s graves are at the bottom of the cemetery and I think that people are coming from the other side and taking a shortcut through the graveyard. I would not be surprised if it’s happening to other people as well.”
In August last year, a father was left devastated after his baby grave was twice raided by thieves at the same cemetery.
Mr Bebb said that he had not alerted police to the crime as they were “already stretched” but hoped publicity of the ongoing incidents would be enough to deter the criminals from returning.
He said: “It’s not the monetary value but the fact that someone can take something from somebody’s grave. I think it’s utterly despicable.
“I know it’s not a major crime but it’s very upsetting especially if it’s happening to a lot of people. If people that are doing this see this and realise someone is on to it then it might stop them.
“You would hope people had the moral compass not to do something like this. It’s distressing to see when you go up there and it’s like being burgled, knowing that people have been going through your possessions.”
Coun Michael Harrison, cabinet member for Environment, Waste Reduction and Recycling said it was unacceptable that tributes were being removed from graves.
He said: “While such incidents are few and far between, we strongly advise that items of value are not left on graves, but we appreciate that people like to leave personal objects, so we will continue to monitor the cemetery to try and prevent further items being removed without permission.”