Plea for extra security after series of thefts of sentimental items from Sheffield cemeteries

Area G6 of Sheffield's City Road Cemetery where a gravestone has been vandalised
Area G6 of Sheffield's City Road Cemetery where a gravestone has been vandalised
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Grieving relatives have called for tougher security to deter ‘disgusting’ thieves who steal from Sheffield graves.

Flora Travis warned other families after solar lights and mementos were taken from her late husband Keith’s resting place in City Road Cemetery.

Devastated Flora found out about the theft on the first anniversary of Keith’s death.

Now other relatives who have experienced similar thefts have called for CCTV and extra security measures to stop the criminals.

Michaela Needham said thieves had been stealing from graves ‘for years’.

“I know how heartbreaking it is,” she said. “We’ve stopped putting toys onto my baby brother’s grave due to this happening.

“They’ve taken little toys we’ve put on his grave for him – why anyone would steal from a grave is beyond me.

“That’s all we have left to feel like we can connect with people we’ve lost, and someone comes along and thinks it’s their right to do this? Absolutely disgusting.”

Amy Edwards said: “I put things on my dad’s grave up there and they go missing.

“My brother put a United shirt on and that was taken. You can’t do anything these days – it’s so disrespectful.”

And Lorraine Taylor said items had just been stolen from a family member’s grave.

“As I have been saying for years it needs security – this should not be happening,” she added.

Sheffield Council, which runs cemeteries around the city, said it advised people not to leave anything of high value on gravestones.

A spokesman said: “Although the gates are locked overnight, they are open spaces and we know people can enter cemeteries at night if they are determined to do so.

“If any items are stolen, these thefts should be reported to the police, who may decide to increase their presence in the area as a result.

“We know that all thefts can be distressing, and those from cemeteries can be more so. That said, while thefts from cemeteries do occur, to the best of our knowledge this is no more a problem in Sheffield than it is in any other area.”

Acting inspector Joe Hunt, of South Yorkshire Police, added: “Any kind of theft can be extremely distressing but thefts from graves are absolutely despicable.

“People should be able to leave mementos at the graves of their loved ones without having to worry that they will be taken.

“We’d always encourage anyone to report an incident of a theft to us so that we can look in it, and we have been made aware of a theft from a grave at the cemetery on Saturday, April 29.

“Our PCSOs regularly patrol the area around City Road Cemetery and anyone found to have taken items from there will be prosecuted.”