A FAMILY has slammed heartless thieves who swiped a handcrafted bouquet of artificial flowers placed by their grandparents’ graveside.
The lovingly-created bouquet was left in a flower pot in memory of Kathleen and Seymour Crang at their graveside in East Cemetery, in Geneva Road, Darlington.
Their granddaughter, Victoria Britton, discovered the pot had been taken on her weekly visit to their grave.
She said: “It does upset you and it is the third time it has happened now.
“They are your family and they are supposed to be at rest now but it is not obviously happening when someone is coming and pinching things.”
Mrs Crang died in 2008 aged 82 and was buried alongside her late husband, who passed away more than 30 years ago.
Their family, which includes more than 30 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, regularly visit their grave and replace the flowers around three times a year.
Last summer they were horrified to discover one bouquet had been used as a football by children playing in the cemetery.
Ms Britton said: “We only put the most recent flowers down in March, and they are expensive to replace.
“You do not want to spend lots of money on them when you don’t know whether they will stay there or not.”
Her father Bobby Britton and late uncle, Peter Crang, are also buried in the cemetery.
“My dad liked travelling in his caravan so we got a toy caravan to put on his grave, but that was taken as well,” she said.
“You worry who it is going to be next – will it be my grandparents, my uncle or my dad?”
A spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council, which manages the cemetery, said the authority was aware of the most recent incident.
She said: “We will continue to work with the police to deter antisocial behaviour.
“The cemetery is unmanned and so appeal to the public to remain vigilant and report any further incidences to either the police or ourselves.”
Police are investigating the incident, which is believed to have happened between Friday, May 16 and Monday.
PC Simon Morris, of Darlington police, said: “It is horrendous.Thieves are not my favourite people at the best of times but stealing from somebody’s grave is as low as it can get and has caused a lot of upset for the family.”
Anyone with any information is asked to call police on the non-emergency 101 number, quoting incident number 19052014-0231.