Cemetery Thieves Steal Remembrance Plaques

Bearing poignant messages to lost relatives and friends

Wandsworth Council has acted to deter callous thieves who were bringing misery to bereaved families whose loved one’s final resting place is in Putney Vale Cemetery.
Eight brass plaques were stolen from the cemetery last week. The plaques had been placed in Putney Vale’s garden of remembrance and bore poignant messages in memory of lost friends and relatives.
As soon as staff spotted the brass memorial plates had been stolen, the council decided to implement additional security measures to prevent any further thefts.
The ordinary screws which were being used to keep them in place have now all been replaced with special anti-tamper bolts which will make it much harder for the thieves to steal them, while officers in the park’s police have also stepped up patrols in the area.
The council is also investigating the possibility of installing temporary CCTV cameras to cover the garden of remembrance.
The families whose plaques have been stolen have all been contacted and informed about the thefts and the council is also now arranging for replacements to be supplied.
Thefts of this type have become a growing problem for local authorities up and down the country following sharp rises in the value of metal.
Thefts of lead, copper piping and insulation wire as well as plaques and war memorials made from brass are now increasingly commonplace. Last month dozens of brass plaques were stolen from Tooting cemetery in Blackshaw Road, which is owned and managed by neighbouring Lambeth Council.
As well as churches and cemeteries, thieves are targeting electricity sub-stations and even live railway lines to steal copper.
The council’s environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “The theft of memorial tablets from the cemetery would be a devastating blow to any family. Those responsible for such callous thefts are utterly heartless and should seriously examine their consciences and think for a second about how they would feel if the same thing happened to them."

Visitors to Putney Vale who spot any type of suspicious behaviour are being urged to call the parks police immediately on 020 8871 7532 or report their concerns to the cemetery office.

September 27, 2011