Calls for greater security at Ripon Cemetery after thefts

Ripon Cemetery
Ripon Cemetery

A grief-stricken widow has called for greater security at Ripon Cemetery after items she left at her husband’s gave were stolen in August.

Jeanette Behan’s husband Brian died in February 2014 and since then, she has visited her husband’s headstone every week to leave items and cut the grass.

However, she complained to Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) in August this year after lights and flowers left at the headstone by her grand-daughter were stolen.

Jeanette is now calling for the gates to be shut at the cemetery to be closed at night and said she was ‘devastated’ the items had been stolen in the first place.

She said: “The problem is that people can just come and go at the cemetery. It’s a disgrace that there are no cameras or a warden and that the gates are never shut.

“At the end of the day what are we paying for? I only get £90 a week to live on and I buy items for his grave as well as cutting the grass round his headstone.

“It annoys me that these people who steal these items seem to get away with it and nothing is done about it.

“You should be able to go up there without the fear that people will pinch your stuff. It makes me sick to think that these people can be so cruel.

“They should be fined or sent to prison. It hurts me to know that I scrimp and save and yet people do these horrible things and nothing gets done about it.”

HBC said they had asked a council officer who lives in the lodge at the cemetery to keep surveillance but stressed no formal arrangements had been put in place.

An HBC spokesperson said: “In August, the council received a report that something had been removed from a grave at Ripon cemetery.

“Since the initial report, we have not been approached by any other visitors who have had items removed from the cemetery without their permission.

“We are hopeful that this will not happen again, however we will continue to monitor the cemetery to ensure that no further items are removed without permission.”

However, another Ripon resident has also complained that she encountered similar problems with her 11-month-old daughter’s headstone.

Linda Holstein’s daughter Louise was buried at Ripon Cemetery in 1998 but since then her headstone has been vandalised and on October 5 discovered items she left had been stolen.

She said: “I’m at my wits end and I think it’s appalling. I’m trying to look after my daughter’s memory and make her resting place a special place to go to.

“I’ve paid for my daughter’s resting place, I shouldn’t have to find things have gone when I visit her.”