Three Nottingham mums are “angry” and “destroyed” after having sentimental items stolen from the graves of loved ones.
Unified calls for CCTV surrounding Northern Cemetery, Bulwell, have been made with the family members hopeful it will help put an end to the misery.
Debbie Blushes, 49, from Bilborough says she was in “floods of tears” after last week discovering objects she had left on her mother’s grave were missing.
She said: “My mum used to ride her bike and collect money for Lincoln and Nottingham air ambulance.
“She loved Harley bikes, so we left a toy replica on her grave – that along with a stone heart and two lanterns were stolen.
“I was left destroyed; I was in floods of tears – we scoured the whole cemetery but found nothing.
“We’d like the gates to be fixed, some CCTV would be nice – there’s youths wheeling about, drunks at night and the state of the cemetery is disgusting, I have to dodge dog muck.”
Cherelle Brealey, 31, says just two weeks after her brother was buried, two years ago, in the cemetery, a first of few sentimental items went missing.
Ms Brealey added she was later notified by a groundskeeper that the object – a flower teddy bear – had been found by police “on a pushchair full of belongings from the cemetery”.
She said: “He was buried on the 10th June 2020 and a couple of weeks later, just before Father’s Day, we noticed his flower Teddy bear was missing.”
She added: “We appealed on Facebook and my sister-in-law was contacted by one of the ground keepers who said the police had caught some people with a pushchair full of belongings from the cemetery.”
“There was so much stuff on this pushchair – ornaments, flowers, toys – it was absolutely heart-breaking how low someone could be to steal from so many people who have already had the heartache of losing someone.”
Ms Brealey explains she had hoped this was the last of the crimes but one year later discovered another item from her brother’s grave again went missing.
She said: “In March 2021 a couple of weeks before Mother’s Day it was stolen again, this time we didn’t get it back and we have no idea who did it.
“Speaking to other people, it seems to be a common thing at this cemetery – it’s disgusting – I think some CCTV should be installed around the grounds and probably some lights inside.”
Although nothing has been taken from her brother’s grave recently, Ms Brealey claims flowers were stolen from her uncle’s grave, located in the same cemetery, just before Christmas.
Nicola Coxon, 51, lives in Top Valley and regularly visits Northern Cemetery where her son’s grave is located, and now has to “superglue” any plastic flowers they place down due to items going missing.
She said: “Someone keeps taking all the things off, the last time was Christmas – I checked the whole area including the bins but never found anything.
She added: “I’m angry, I can understand kids moving things but it’d still be in the vicinity if it was just them.”
A Nottingham City Council spokesperson said: “We’re not aware of any ongoing issues with thefts from graves, but we always advise the family to report this to the police. The council will then support officers with any investigation, but we can’t accept liability for items left within our cemeteries.
“Any concerns about the condition of the grounds can be reported through the Have Your Say process, but, again, we’re not aware of any current issues. Dogs are not allowed on site except for assistance purposes, while litter-picking takes place several times each week as necessary.
“Northern Cemetery has full pedestrian access at all times and we closely monitor the grounds out of hours. There have been no problems regarding anti-social behaviour, but we would be in a position to react quickly if that changed.”