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Wolverhampton cemetery baby grave thieves 'lowest of the low'

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

"They are just the lowest of the low."

Those are the words of a devastated father after items were stolen from his child's grave at Bushbury Cemetery.

Parents have been left distraught after heartless thieves targeted their children's graves, with at least two families affected.

Investigations are now taking place at the Underhill Lane site. It comes just a year after patrols had to be stepped up after the same site was targeted in a series of thefts.

Bus driver Rob Taylor, aged 34 and his garden centre worker wife Nicola, 35, from Willenhall, lost their child in November last year when Nicola miscarried.

Mr Taylor said: "We lost our baby last year and had a memorial stone put on the site in February and in March we put some solar lights and a couple of things around it."

Mr Taylor said he found out through Facebook that items had been taken from graves at the cemetery over the weekend.

"I jumped in the car and went down with my wife and we found our two lights had gone," he said.

"Several other people sent me messages saying that it had happened to them over the last week and they have gone and found stuff missing.

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"I was gutted. They are just the lowest of the low and that is putting it politely.

"We tried for 10 years for a child and when we struck lucky disaster happened. We wanted to put the poor little one to rest and put a nice stone on the grave and that's all we can do for our baby. The fact that someone's been messing with my baby's grave just disturbs me."

Rhiannon Chamberlain, 32, from Brookfield Road, Codsall, buried her son Ellis Chamberlain in April this year.

She visits the grave every day and has had a specially made gravestone, as well as lights and ornaments put onto the plot.

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"The stone is designed around the Guess How Much I Love You book," she said. "We put all the little things down, trees and lights to make it so personal to us and they have just come and taken them.

"My mom called me on Saturday because we go every day. We went on Friday and they were there and my mom went up on Saturday and they were gone."

Rhiannon, who has a 13-year-old daughter called Lauren, said 2ft tall conifers in ceramic pots and lights were among the items taken.

"It was heartbreaking," she added. "How can they stand there where I sit and spend time with him and take his things."

West Midlands Police spokesman Lee Page said police had received reports of the thefts on Monday.

"It has been passed on to the neighbourhood team to look into," he said.

Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city services at Wolverhampton council, described the crimes as 'despicable'.

He said: "The distress this must cause to already grieving families is unimaginable and my heart goes out to them.

"We do try and discourage people from leaving items of monetary and sentimental value out in the open because sadly there are people in the world who will take them.

"Our staff are being extra vigilant for suspicious activity, we have CCTV on site and we are working closely with West Midlands Police to step up security and hopefully catch the perpetrators."

He added that anyone with information should contact police.

Last year police appealed for people to come forward and claim items that may have been stolen from the cemetery.

Officers recovered more than 30 items after a raid on a house on the nearby Scotlands estate, seizing lanterns and statues and a 47-year-old man was arrested.

Patrols were also stepped up after the personal items were stolen.

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