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Newton Aycliffe grave theft victims call for CCTV at cemetery
A YOUNG couple who have been reunited with precious glass ornaments stolen from their baby sons' grave are calling for CCTV to be installed at the cemetery.
John and Joanne Newman were devastated when a commemorative plaque and ornaments were taken from the grave of their sons, Caleb and Isaac, during a spate of burglaries at West Cemetery in School Aycliffe in County Durham last month.
Earlier this week, some of the sentimental items were discovered among a large haul of stolen ornaments recovered from a property in the village.
And today (Friday, October 4), on what would have been Caleb’s eighth birthday, the emotional couple and their youngest daughter, Harmony, replaced the items.
Mrs Newman, 29, of Newton Aycliffe, said: “I could not believe it when I heard they had found them. We never thought we would see them again.
“It is great to get them back but it is still upsetting to think someone could steal from a baby’s grave.
“There have been a lot of thefts at West Cemetery and I feel all the victims should stick together and try to get cameras installed.”
Her demands are echoed on Newton Aycliffe Neighbourhood Police Team’s Facebook page, where news of the thefts sparked an outrage.
One resident commented: “CCT V needs to be put up. I have had many things taken from my mam’s grave, including personalised items just last week.
“It’s the fourth time possessions have been taken. Something needs to be done.”
The spate of thefts is believed to have occurred between Monday, September 1 and Tuesday, October 1.
Newton Aycliffe Police Team worked closely with wardens from Great Aycliffe Town Council (GATC), which owns the cemetery, to track down the stolen items.
A 41-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of theft and a 37-year-old woman has also been arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods.
Both are from School Aycliffe and have been released on bail pending further enquiries.
Councillor Bob Fleming, leader of GATC, said he sympathised with the victims concerns but said it would be too expensive to install and link up CCTV cameras across such a large site.
He said the council had increased patrols last months to help catch the culprit, adding: “It is something we take very seriously and we will continue to monitor the issue and look at various crime prevention methods.”
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