Grieving families say sick grave raiders have violated their babies’ final resting places.
Callous thieves have stolen ornaments, lights and cash from a money box from at least four graves of stillborn and young babies at Kirkby’s Kingsway Cemetery.
The thefts over the past weeks have left families heartbroken.
This week they have held vigils at the tiny graves to prevent what they feel would be further violation of their children’s private spaces.
Ashfield Council is stepping up security patrols and Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has pledged to do all she can to put a stop to the vandalism.
Heartbroken mum Jane Manthorpe, 39 visited the grave of her son Jayden Lee, who was stillborn in 2013 and found a baby brother ornament and solar powered fairy lights missing.
The mother of six said: “I think it’s disgusting, whoever has done this has no respect whatsoever.
“These things might not look much but they mean everything to me and my kids.
“It’s not about money it’s about something nice on a baby’s grave - you can’t give them anything else.
“The grave is all they have. I carried Jayden for 38 weeks.
“It is like someone stealing from a child’s bedroom.”
Jane posted about the thefts on Facebook and straight away another three mums said their babies’ graves at the cemetery had been robbed too.
Two weeks ago Vicky Pattison, 28, of Kirkby, discovered fairy lights missing from the grave of her daughter Gracie, who was stillborn at 33 weeks.
The decorations were chosen by her sister Lilly for her birthday on 22nd April.
“We see it as her bed,” said Vicky.
“Gracie never lived or breathed and this space is all she has
“It is sickening I feel I can’t even keep her safe.
“Gracie always gets new lights on her birthday, Easter and Christmas.”
“The lights shone on her headstone and it looked beautiful.”
“Lilly is devastated by all this.”
She said the stolen lights - two sunflower solar lights, two sticks with glass cracked balls and a black fairy on a tall stick cost just a few pounds.
She said: “Who would stoop so low as to steal from the grave of a baby?
Whether it’s someone swiping them for their garden or to sell on to make a few pounds - it really is sick.
“Someone must have seen something.”
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero met with Jane, Vicky Pattison, Lisa Gregory and Chelsea Yemm at the cemetery on Friday (22nd May) along with local councillor Mike Smith, and the two politicians were shocked when they were told fairy lights, cash from a money box, rosary beads and angel were among the items stolen from graves.
“I’m absolutely disgusted. I can’t believe someone would behave like this. What sick person would steal items from the grave plots of children of these Kirkby mums. These thieves must be caught because I don’t want another parent to go through what they’ve been through,” said the MP.
Ms De Piero has promised to do all that she can to put a stop to the callous vandalism and following conversations with Ashfield District Council which manages the site, the Community Protection Team is stepping up patrols and the gates at the entrance will be locked earlier.
Coun Smith added; “I’m meeting with officers on Wednesday (26th May) to discuss what else can be done going forward if the extra patrols don’t work. I’m determined to do all that I can to help parents and put a stop to this vandalism once and for all.”
Distraught parents are also pressing for CCTV at the cemetery and Gloria has asked the council to look into the possibility of installing cameras at the site to improve security and the MP has also written to the top cop at Nottinghamshire Police to ensure that the toughest action possible is taken.
A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police said: “We are investigating reported theft of items from the cemetery, which was reported to us on 18th May.
“Anyone with information should telephone Nottinghamshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 144 of 18 May.”