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Thieves steal memorial plaque and crosses from gravestones in West Norfolk church

PUBLISHED: 15:48 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:56 08 March 2018

Terrington St Clement Parish Church, where items have been stolen from graves and a bench. Picture: Chris Bishop

Terrington St Clement Parish Church, where items have been stolen from graves and a bench. Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

A metal plaque and two crosses have been stolen from a village graveyard.

Alan Hodgson, whose parents' and brother's graves have been targeted. Picture: Chris BishopAlan Hodgson, whose parents' and brother's graves have been targeted. Picture: Chris Bishop

The sentimental items were taken from the grounds of Terrington St Clement Parish Church, where they were placed to remember members of the Hodgson family and teenager Matthew Hunt, who died of cancer.

Alan Hodgson, 71, whose family runs the wrought iron company Hodgsons Forge in Wesley Road, said the metal crosses were unique and of sentimental value, as they were made by his late brother Tony Hodgson nearly 30 years ago.

The iron crosses sat on the gravestones of his parents Ethel and Arthur Hodgson and his older brother Eric, in the graveyard at Churchgate Way.

Alan Hodgson's brother's grave. Picture: Chris BishopAlan Hodgson's brother's grave. Picture: Chris Bishop

“You get used to a lot in this world but you can’t understand this though can you,” Mr Hodgson said.

“The scrap value of the crosses is probably £2 at the most, you wonder why anybody would do that.

“We can replace them but it just won’t be the same.”

The bench from a which a brass plaque in memory of 17-year-old Matthew Hunt has been stolen. Picture: Chris BishopThe bench from a which a brass plaque in memory of 17-year-old Matthew Hunt has been stolen. Picture: Chris Bishop

Although the crosses are of little monetary value, Mr Hodgson said it would cost around £1,000 to have a craftsman forge them again. The granite gravestones have also been damaged as a result of the theft.

He added: “We had to get special permission to put them in the graveyard. The crosses were bolted on as I thought it would be more secure.”

Mr Hodgson said his friend, Terrington fire station watch manager Ian Hunt, was also victim to the theft.

A wrought iron cross which has been stolen from a grave. Picture: Hodgson FamilyA wrought iron cross which has been stolen from a grave. Picture: Hodgson Family

Thieves made away with the star-shaped metal plaque from a memorial bench in memory of his 17-year-old son Matthew who died of cancer in 2009.

The memorial bench is one of many, all made at Hodgsons Forge, sitting in a garden behind the church adorned with flowers and messages left by family and friends. 
Mr Hodgson said they had notified police and the church warden of the thefts and were warning others to be keep a watch on family graves.

Anyone who may have any information about the thefts should contact PC Jonathan Chandler at Downham Market Police Station on 101.

One of the crosses which has been stolen, pictured before it was taken. Picture: Hodgson FamilyOne of the crosses which has been stolen, pictured before it was taken. Picture: Hodgson Family

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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