HOME -- Champion News17 Aug 2019

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  • Family’s anguish as heartless vandals target loved one’s final resting place

    Henry James

    A FAMILY grieving the loss of a loved one have suffered more heartache as thieves have caused damage and stolen items from her graveside at St Thomas The Martyr Church in Up Holland.

    Since the woman’s funeral in July last year members of the family have visited the grave on a daily basis, placing floral tributes along with personal items and wind chimes as a mark of love and respect.

    But over the last five months the grave has been targeted by heartless vandals in a series of attacks.

    In the first incident last August flowers were ripped out of pots by the graveside, solar lights were smashed and shepherd’s crooks damaged.

    Since then a number of other incidents have taken place including the theft of solar lights.

    A family member, who has asked not to be named, told the Champion: “Since our sad loss we have visited the grave every day to leave various tributes.

    “The attacks started in August, not long after the funeral, and it was heartbreaking for the family as we were still grieving for the loss of a loved one.

    “As well as the daily visits the family have placed tributes on special occasions such as birthdays and at Christmas.

    “Over the last two months we have had a number of solar lights stolen. We have replaced these only to have the replacements taken as well with the latest theft happening just last week some time between the afternoon of Thursday, January 31 and the following day, Friday, February 1.

    “Officials at the church and the local police seem to be of the opinion that there is little that can be done but you have to ask yourself what is in the minds of people who vandalise and steal from graves?

    “I cannot forgive the actions of these persons who seem to be able to cause so much distress to the families of loved ones buried in the church grounds.”

    A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said: “We received two reports of damage to a grave located in the grounds of the church of St Thomas the Martyr in Up Holland - one on August 20, 2018 and one on February 2, 2019.

    “We would like to reassure the public that crimes of this nature are taken very seriously and we have increased patrols in the area as a result of these reports. We are also planning to revisit the person who initially contacted us about these incidents, and if they report any further incidents these will be recorded and investigated. If any suspects are identified they will be dealt with robustly.

    “Anybody with information about these incidents is asked to contact us on 101, quoting log number 1532 of August 20th 2018 or 350 of February 2nd 2019.”

    A spokesperson from the Diocese of Liverpool commented: “We’re really sorry to hear of the damage and theft from the graveyard of St Thomas the Martyr, Up Holland.

    “A graveyard is a way that people are able to remember their loved ones. We understand the importance for people to be able to do this freely, so by their very nature graveyards are very difficult to keep secure.

    “We can only imagine the distress the family must feel about the damage to the grave and the loss of the tributes which have such a great emotional meaning.

    “We appeal to everyone in the area to please remain vigilant and to get in touch with the police to help prevent such incidents happening to anyone else.”

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