Bereaved families vow to protect Wakefield Cemetery graves from vandals

Graves at the Sugar Lane cemetery have been hit by vandalism. The family of Teagan Dobson, a seven-year-old with cerebral palsy who died two years ago have launched a Facebook appeal for CCTV to be installed at the cemetry.
Graves at the Sugar Lane cemetery have been hit by vandalism. The family of Teagan Dobson, a seven-year-old with cerebral palsy who died two years ago have launched a Facebook appeal for CCTV to be installed at the cemetry.
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BEREAVED families will take it upon themselves to protect grave sites from vandals.

Campaigners want to set up a committee and raise money for CCTV cameras after claims this week that toys, gifts and other memorials had again been stolen from Wakefield Cemetery, on Sugar Lane.

People have also reported seeing yobs drinking and urinating in the cemetery.

Frustrations were also high this week as campaigners discovered a new scheme to lock the cemetery gates overnight had been delayed without warning.

Wakefield Council’s bereavement services had agreed to start the three-month trial on May 1, but did not start locking the gates until Wednesday.

Carol Churchill, who set up a campaign for better security with her daughter Hayley, said: “The gates have not been getting locked and I am not happy to say the least.

“More things have been stolen since the start of May and it makes me sick to the stomach.

“I think the only way we will get CCTV is to set up a committee, get a bank account and try to secure some funding, and get permission from the council. But we need people to come forward for this to happen.”

Mrs Churchill has been running the campaign since April last year.

And back in October police said they would step up patrols at the site and also ran a poster campaign to deter vandals.

But just last month the Express reported new calls for CCTV cameras after Stephanie Bateman, of Lupset, found her stillborn nephew Billy-Joe’s grave had been targeted.

Glynn Humphries, service director for cleaner and greener, said: “We apologise for the slight delay in getting this in place but the gates will be definitely start to be locked from May 9 between 8pm and 6am.

“Theft from a grave is a criminal offence and is very upsetting for relatives and friends of the bereaved, as is anti-social behaviour. I urge anyone who has any information about these crimes to contact us or the police.”

People wanting to support the campaign for cameras is asked to join a Facebook group called ‘CCTV cameras in Sugar Lane Cemetery’.