Family's horror after 'heartless' theft from child's grave

This fairy ornament was stolen from a child's grave in Earlham Cemetery 

This fairy ornament was stolen from a child's grave in Earlham Cemetery - Credit: Kay Emmerson

A Norwich family has been devastated after a "heartless" criminal stole a statue from a gravestone in a city cemetery.

Kay Emmerson has warned other people with loved ones in Earlham Cemetery to be on guard after a fairy ornament was recently ripped off a child's grave. 

The theft, which has been reported to Norfolk Police, is believed to have taken place between 1pm on Tuesday, November 30 and 11am on Sunday, December 5. 

The fairy was secured to a concrete ledge in front of the headstone and was attached by a professional stone mason.

Ms Emmerson added: "Whoever the thieves are, they know exactly what they are doing. It's obvious, especially as they are removing items from graves which have been professionally secured." 

City councillor Denise Carlo, who represents the Nelson ward, will be visiting environmental health and public protection services at the cemetery on Friday after concerns were raised about a padlock being broken on the cemetery gate by Bowthorpe Road.

Councillor Denise Carlo. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Councillor Denise Carlo. Picture: Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

Ms Carlo will also be discussing a more fitting access for the Jewish burial ground at the cemetery on Friday, and she has now pledged to raise the theft with the service as well.

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Speaking about the theft, Ms Carlo said: "Theft of precious ornaments from a grave is a sad indictment.  

"If only the thief would stop to consider how they would feel if a memento was stolen from their loved one’s grave." 

The Emmerson family hopes police patrols will increase in the cemetery as a result of the theft.

A spokeswoman from Norwich City Council added: “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.

“Cemeteries are designed to be accessible, dignified and peaceful places for anyone who has lost someone and wants to pay their respects.

“We would always strongly advise against placing any items of value on graves because our cemeteries are public open spaces.

“The theft is a police matter, but we will assist them however we can.”

Norfolk Police has been contacted for comment.