‘It’s made us sick to the stomach’ - Family’s grief as floral tributes and notes are stolen from grandmother’s grave the day after she is buried

Flowers stolen from Valerie's grave in Earlham Cemetery the day after her funeral. Left to right, Di

Flowers stolen from Valerie's grave in Earlham Cemetery the day after her funeral. Left to right, Dionne (Valerie's daughter), Mostyn (Valerie's husband), Lennon (Valerie's grandson) and Tanya (Valerie's daughter). Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Thieves have stolen floral tributes and handwritten cards left at the graveside of a much-loved grandmother just a day after she was buried.

Flowers stolen from Valerie's grave in Earlham Cemetery the day after her funeral. Left to right, Di

Flowers stolen from Valerie's grave in Earlham Cemetery the day after her funeral. Left to right, Dionne (Valerie's daughter), Mostyn (Valerie's husband), Lennon (Valerie's grandson) and Tanya (Valerie's daughter).Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Now, her grieving family say they are 'absolutely devastated' and, having been left unable to sleep, are desperate to see the culprits brought to justice.

Daughter Tanya, who did not wish to reveal the family's surname for fear of more thefts, said they had enjoyed a 'perfect' send-off for beloved Valerie on Friday - but that by Saturday afternoon, 'mum' and 'nanny' bouquets laid by her four grandchildren had been stolen.

In a further blow, they discovered that even handwritten notes left by the family at the Earlham Road cemetery had not been spared by the callous thieves.

Tanya, of Links Avenue in Hellesdon, said: 'I felt sick. I can't even put into words how I feel about it. We had both put a card on the grave and written so much in there about how much we loved her and how much she would be missed. How can they look at those words and not feeling anything?'


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It has forced the family to relive the pain of losing Valerie, who died of pneumonia at the end of December aged 66.

'It's made us feel sick to the stomach and as though we need to protect her. It's been four weeks since we lost mum and you just start to get yourself together and this just brings it all back, and you feel the same emotions as they day we lost her,' she said.

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Tanya has urged Norwich City Council, who own the cemetery, to install CCTV cameras to catch offenders and spare other families the same pain.

But a spokesperson for the authority said: 'We can only imagine the distress caused to relatives and loved ones by the mindless act of individuals who steal items put in place in memory of those who have passed away.

'By their very nature, cemeteries are not created to be fortresses. Instead, they are designed to be accessible, dignified and peaceful places for anyone who has lost a loved one and wants to pay their respects.'

Sixty six-year-old Mostyn, Valerie's husband of almost 50 years, described the crime as his 'worst nightmare'.

'This is beyond belief. You hear about these sort of things but you just can't believe it. It's so upsetting for my two daughters.'

And Tanya, who has an eight-year-old son, believes that the tributes were taken as part of a 'steal to order' operation.

'They must have had a car, and they knew what they were doing. They will probably end up at the funeral of someone else,' she said.

But Norfolk Constabulary said they were not aware of any such operation in the city and branded crimes of this nature 'heartless'.

They added: 'In order to catch the perpetrators of these crimes the police need information so we would urge members of the public to report anything suspicious. We would appeal to the better nature of those responsible who may not be aware how distressing this can be.'

The incident happened sometime between 11am and 3pm on Saturday, January 24. If you have information, contact 101.

Do you have a story? Contact lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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