Gifts stolen from grave

Memorial gifts for still born baby stolen from graveside.'Steph Bateman, pictured with her son, Callum, by the graveside of her daughter, Billy-Jo.
Memorial gifts for still born baby stolen from graveside.'Steph Bateman, pictured with her son, Callum, by the graveside of her daughter, Billy-Jo.
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GRIEVING families have again called for better security at cemeteries after more gifts were stolen from graves.

Stephanie Bateman, 23, put decorative lights around the grave of her stillborn nephew Billy-Joe at Wakefield Cemetery, on Sugar Lane, three days before what would have been his ninth birthday.

But the lights and other decorations had been stolen before his birthday on March 29.

Ms Bateman, of Lupset, said it was the second time the family had suffered, following a previous incident where teddies were stolen from Billy-Joe’s grave shortly after he was buried.

She said: “Billy-Joe has never had anything in his life – all he gets are the things we put by his grave.

“It is disgusting to think that someone could steal these things. There is a photograph on there and everything, I just don’t know how they can do it. There is no respect whatsoever.

“I think CCTV would definitely help.”

Other grieving families launched a campaign for security cameras to be installed at Sugar Lane cemetery last April, following incidents of theft and vandalism.

The council said at the time that it would not be viable due to the large number of cameras needed.

But it said this week that cemetery gates would be locked at night to help tackle the problem.

Diane Widdowson, service manager for environmental health, said: “We take thefts from graves very seriously.

“We have consulted with the public about this and it has been agreed that the gates in the cemetery on Woodcock Street would be locked from 8pm to 8am for a trial period, as would gates for vehicular access on Sugar Lane.

“Pedestrian access will be maintained at all times on Sugar Lane.”

Last October police officers increased patrols and put up posters to deter vandals.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman confirmed that there had been a report of thefts from the site during the past month.

He said: “Thefts of items from graveyards are horrible crimes and impact heavily on families and friends grieving over the loss of loved ones.”

Incidents of theft or vandalism should be reported to the police on 101.