CCTV plea after children's grave thefts in Gainsborough cemetery

Image caption,
A week after the picture of this boy's grave, all the items had been taken

Families whose children's graves have been repeatedly targeted by thieves have staged a protest in a bid to get CCTV installed at the cemetery.

Toys, teddy bears and holy beads have been stolen from graves in Gainsborough General Cemetery in Lincolnshire.

Families claim the problem has been ongoing for a number of years and demanded the council step up security.

Gainsborough council said it would meet the families affected by the problems.

Shelley Finney, whose son Nathan was stillborn in 2015, said: "People just come here and help themselves."

Image caption,
Shelley Finney said hundreds of pounds worth of items had been stolen from her son's grave

Dozens of people joined the families in a protest at the cemetery to highlight their demands for CCTV.

More than 500 people have signed a petition on the issue and a Facebook group has been set up.

Ms Finney, 25, said the most recent theft involved solar lights being taken within a day of putting them on her son's grave.

"Anything they think is worth any money they'll take it. It's heartbreaking. They shouldn't be touching it," she said.

"There's no fences here hardly, it's not secure, so CCTV is the only option."

Image source, Facebook
Image caption,
Families are meeting with the council in April to discuss the issue

Janet Lewis said the grave of her son Robert had been trashed a number of times.

"I've been up to find my boy's grave with everything off it," she added.

"It's devastating, it just makes you want to cry."

Natalie East, who was involved in the protest, said: "The council needs to listen and do something because what's going on is sickening.

"If they don't provide CCTV we will have to look at fundraising it ourselves."

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