NEWSTEAD Cemetery has been targeted by thieves in a repeat of previous attacks.
Two children’s graves, decorated with mementoes and trinkets by the families, have been hit again prompting parents to speak out about the crime.
“We are both shocked and filled with complete sadness that this has happened again,” said Jeremy Cotton and his wife Michelle whose 12 year-old daughter is buried in the cemetery. “This should be a place for peace. But our place to come and remember our daughter has now been violated.”
A number of small trinkets and pictures were taken from Chloe’s grave as well as from the neighbouring gravestone of fellow cystic fibrosis sufferer, Eliese Argyle, who was Chloe’s friend.
“These things were just tokens of our love and not really worth much except to us,” added Mr Cotton, who lives in Burton Joyce. “We chose Newstead cemetery because I have family who live in the village as well as other family members buried in the cemetery. It always seemed a peaceful place but I am beginning to regret our choice.”
Chloe and Eliese, who died at 17, are placed close to each other in the cemetery. Both graves suffered the same fate last year but after Eliese’s family set up a surveillance camera, police managed to secure a conviction for the thefts.
“My wife is devastated and extremely upset by what keeps happening,” added Mr Cotton. “These things we place on the graves are loving touches -is anything sacred anymore?”
A spokesman for Newstead Parish Council, who are responsible for the cemetery, voiced her disgust at the thefts.
Chairman Trish Wise said: “It’s pretty disturbing that anyone would want to do this. Losing someone dear is very distressing and then for personal items to be taken from their graves is dreadful.
“I will be bringing this news to the parish council at our next meeting and making further enquiries. This is totally unacceptable and I can’t imagine the type of person who would do such a thing.
“Unfortunately because of the cemetery location, securing the site is not an option.”
In response to the incident, a Notts Police spokesman said: “This is a particularly insensitive and disrespectful crime. We have been conducting enquiries in the local area in a bid to identify the offender and we are supporting the family affected.
“We arrested and bailed a man on suspicion of theft but he was subsequently released with no further action. Our investigations continue.
“Anyone with any information about these thefts is asked to contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”