A worrying number of people have reported incidents of bags, mobile phones, coats, purses and wallets being stolen from vehicles during recent visits to Bushbury Cemetery and Crematorium in Underhill Lane.
Wolverhampton Council’s environmental bosses and a local ward councillor are now telling people to take extra care and ensure their cars are locked at all times, even during brief visits.
Over the last week, dozens of devastated residents have taken to social media to report thefts – including one incident where a mobile phone containing treasured photos of a departed family member was taken.
Writing on the Bushbury, Fordhouses and Oxley Neighbourhood Watch Facebook page, heartbroken Lisa Reader appealed for the return of her handbag, stolen while she visited her mother’s grave at the weekend. The bag contained her mobile phone with precious photos of her mother, and also her bank cards.
She said: “I’d rather someone just ask if they need money. And people who buy off thieves only encourage this activity."
Jake Reader posted: “My mom’s bag with her phone has been stolen from Bushbury Crematorium, out of her car, so she has no way of contacting anyone at the moment. Pictures of her and family were on the phone.
“I can’t believe someone would decide to rob in broad daylight, especially when visiting a loved one’s grave.”
Theresa Brooks added: “We were visiting my mom’s grave when a gentleman aged 89 came to us really upset, as he had just been robbed of his phone and wallet from inside his car.
“These scumbags offered to help him out of the car and then robbed him. There are a lot of low lifes around here now. Please be on the lookout for elderly people and families.”
Chris Whitfield McNally said: “These people are probably the ones who stole from my grandparents’ grave. The theft at that crematorium is out of control and needs more security.”
Cloey Stokes posted: “My son’s nan had her bag stolen from Bushbury Cemetery while she was laying flowers for her mum.”
Julie Burns-Middleton said: “I hope karma gives these people a good hiding for their despicable actions. You don’t expect that when you’re visiting your loved ones at the crematorium.”
Brian Swanson added: “There’s been a lot of it going on there. Never leave anything on show, even a coat, as they will break in just to see if there is anything in the pockets or to steal the coat.”
Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for city environment, said: “Unfortunately, we have had reports of theft from vehicles parked at cemeteries.
“There is signage at our cemetery sites to warn people to take care of their belongings to avoid these kinds of incidents, which is why we’re asking those visiting the graves of loved ones to be alert, as some cars are being left unlocked.
“Make sure mobile phones, purses, handbags and other precious items are out of sight and that vehicles are securely locked. Please be vigilant, don’t make it easy for thieves and opportunists who prey on those in a vulnerable state while visiting the graves of their loved ones. Be security conscious and stay safe,” he added.
Bushbury North Councillor Alan Butt added: “These latest incidents have been reported to the head of the council’s environmental team, which looks after the site. Unfortunately, this isn’t a recent trend and has been going on for many years.
“With the lockdown there hasn’t been so many services at the crematorium. But people attending funerals are known to be spending at least 30 minutes away from cars.
“The groundsmen are very vigilant and there are signs warning people to take care of their belongings. Security cameras would help to deter would-be thieves, but it’s a 60-acre site and the cost would be astronomical."