Signs going up as officials try to stop cemetery crime

Jill Arkley-Jevons, pictured by her sons graves which have suffered vandalism and been targeted by thieves at Mexborough Cemetery. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP 14-05-15 Cemetery MC 1

Jill Arkley-Jevons, pictured by her sons graves which have suffered vandalism and been targeted by thieves at Mexborough Cemetery. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP 14-05-15 Cemetery MC 1

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Signs are being put up at a Doncaster cemetery in a bid to end vandalism against graves at the site.

Campaigners fighting to keep Mexborough Cemetery safe say the signs will be the first step and, if more problems emerge, they will step up a campaign for closed circuit television cameras to be installed there.

Paula Walford, whose grandfather’s grave is in the cemetery, said the move to put the signs up was agreed after a meeting involving police and Doncaster Council officials.

She said: “We held the meeting and were told there had not been many people reporting problems, so the cameras look like they may not be going to happen at this stage.

“Also, there were people at the meeting who said they were not entirely sure they wanted cameras in the cemetery, because it was somewhere they go to pay their respects, and felt cameras may upset that.

“The idea of the signs would be that it would appeal to people to keep the cemetery respectful and safe and it will also provide a phone number for people to get in touch with nereavement servies or the police if they see anything that needs to be addressed.”

Ms Walford said residents would see how the signs were working for a few months before they decided if they would need to do anything further to deal with the situation.

She said if there was still a problem she may ask for cameras again.

Police and Doncaster Council officials have told residents they will monitor the situation and run patrols around the area.

Ms Walford said: “We’ve got to try the signs and see of they deter people. We are pleased the council came to the meeting.”

Peter Dale, council director of regeneration and environment, said: “We have listened to the concerns of the community and signage will be going up at Mexborough Cemetery to encourage people to respect and keep the cemetery safe.

“If anyone has information about an act of vandalism or theft from any of our cemeteries, we urge them to report it to South Yorkshire Police so the culprits can be brought to justice and these disgraceful acts stopped.”

Mexborough mum Jill Arkley-Jevons, whose sons’ grave is one of those affected by crime, described the raid on it as ‘horrendous’.

Jill’s oldest son David died, aged 35, nine years ago and her younger son Gary died two years ago, aged 36.

She arrived at the Cemetery Road site to find items she had bought to put on the shared grave had been stolen.

She said: “I can’t imagine people going out and stealing from graves. How can people do this?

“It was just a terrible shock to arrive and find items had gone. The only thing I can do for my boys now is to buy bits for their graves, and that is something I’ve done regularly. It means a lot to me.”