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Burnley grave plots desecrated 17 times
AN investigation by the Lancashire Telegraph has revealed that at least 17 memorials have been desecrated by thieves at a Burnley graveyard.
Intruders at the Haggate Baptist Church graveyard appear to have targeted vaults just out of sight of nearby homes in Nelson Road.
Memorial urns, and chippings on the top of the graves, have also been scattered as York stone flags were removed and hauled away in a wait-ing van.
Each theft target appears to be a family burial plot, with graves ranging from the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th century.
Church elder Michael Green said: “We have a number of graves which are family vaults and these appear to be the ones that they have chosen.”
While some of the graves have had stone-work removed wholesale, others have seen just one or two flags removed, leaving exposed brick-work and mounds of green chippings.”
Well-known Burnley family names are among those vandalised, with the 1928 grave of Mary Halstead, the 1952 grave of Samuel Halstead, and the memorial to Ethel and Abraham Atkinson Halstead all attacked.
Police Community Support Officer Rachel Lonsdale, from the Briercliffe neighbourhood team, is investigating the thefts and has appealed for witnesses to come forward.
It is believed that a van must have been used to transport the flagstones, and other pieces of decorative stone, from the 146-year-old graveyard.
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