A grieving sister has vowed to continue her battle to get security at Rastrick Cemetery after Calderdale Council “brushed off the problem”.
Deborah Moran was devastated when she went to her sister’s grave two weeks ago only to discover that flowers and a solar powered light had been stolen.
Deborah’s sister Dawn Pollard died suddenly on October 26, last year, from an internal haemorrhage. Her grave has only been at the cemetery for a month.
Deborah said she was at the cemetery in Carr Green Lane on Friday, March 1, but didn’t think anything about the flowers not being there until she had spoken to her mum and stepdad. “After speaking to them I realised that someone must have taken them and my mum was really upset,” she said.
“But they hadn’t been pulled out or smashed they had been properly dug out, so someone has taken the time to remove them from their roots so they didn’t damage them.”
Deborah said the family regularly attend the grave as Dawn had three children and one grand-daughter and they had last been there on Tuesday, February 26.
“I have rung the council and I am a bit disgusted because as far as they are concerned they want nothing to do with it which I find disgusting and appalling to say they charge so much money to have the plots then to say they have no responsibility of the plaques and the graves,” said Deborah.
“I know it is open and the cemetery is not massive but I can’t believe they won’t accept any responsibility for putting up a security light. It is appalling for them to take no action.
“I just feel like they don’t care.”
There has been a spate of thefts at the cemetery over the last couple of years that saw flowers and ornaments being disturbed or stolen and plants dug up.
Deborah said she wanted to highlight the issue. “These people have sadly passed away but their relatives still care. Surely there should be some kind of security to keep the graves from getting vandalised and being targeted by thieves,” she said. “The family is still coming to terms with what happened to Dawn and then to have to deal with this.
“When I rang the council to ask them to do something they didn’t want to know.”
She said they would continue to put flowers at the grave because it was the place the whole family went to feel close to her and to talk. “I am not going to let it rest, I really do think the council should have some sort of security.”
Calderdale Council’s Head of Neighbourhoods, Andrew Pitts, said: “We will continue to work with the Police and the local community to try to make sure people treat cemeteries with the respect they deserve.”
PC Matt Catlow from the Lower Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “A gravestone marks the passing of loved ones. It should be sacred and respected and left in one piece. To take items like this that probably have little in the way of monetary value but strong sentimental value to grieving families is heartless in the extreme.”
He appealed to the community to be their eyes and ears and to report any suspicious activity. He said they would be increasing patrols in the area.
Call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.