Cemetery thefts are ‘almost an epidemic’ in Carrick

Twenty graves in Carrick’s Victoria Cemetery have had items stolen from them in recent weeks, according to Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart.

Mr. Stewart has asked the PSNI and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to install CCTV following the latest incident at the weekend in which a model car tribute was taken.

The model car that was stolen from a grave at Victoria Cemetery in Carrick.

The model car that was stolen from a grave at Victoria Cemetery in Carrick.

Mr. Stewart has described the spate as “almost an epidemic” indicating that the problem has got “progressively worse” having received “dozens” of complaints.

He said: “Everything from flowers to poppy wreaths, keepsakes and pictures of loved ones have been stolen.

“It is not just in a certain area of the cemetery but all over. None of these items have turned up in bins. It has been very persistent.

“I have suggested covert CCTV to try to catch the persons responsible. It has been getting progressively worse for some time.”

Mr. Stewart said that he has raised the issue with the PSNI district commander and will be brought to the attention of the Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership this week.

The thefts have been described on social media as “despicable” and “the lowest of the low”.

Last month, a metal poppy was removed from the grave of an ex-serviceman in the run up to Remembrance Sunday causing distress to the man’s widow and family.

A council spokesperson said: “This is an extremely distressing incident for loved ones and our thoughts are with them.

“Cemeteries should be places of sanctuary and memorial items respected.”

“We appeal to anybody with any information regarding this theft to contact the PSNI.”

The latest incident occurred between 10.30am on Sunday and 2.30 pm on Monday.