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‘Mindless and inconsiderate’ vandals target Dereham’s 150-year-old cemetery

PUBLISHED: 11:14 11 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:27 11 October 2017

Vandals have struck Dereham Cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt

Vandals have struck Dereham Cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

Vandals have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at a town cemetery, a place largely untouched by criminal activity for 150 years.

Vandals have struck Dereham Cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt Vandals have struck Dereham Cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham Cemetery, on Cemetery Lane, has always be respected by its townsfolk and any low level crime issues in the past have been dealt with quickly by police through increased patrols.

But in the past week there were three nights in a row where damage was caused and graffiti daubed on the mortuary.

Expensive stained glass windows were smashed, along with a digger window and a toilet window.

At a meeting of Dereham Town Council last night members agreed to install CCTV to deter further incidents.

Vandals have struck Dereham Cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt Vandals have struck Dereham Cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt

In a report to members town clerk Tony Needham said: “To prevent low level crime at the cemetery the council would need to take action.

“CCTV is becoming ever cheaper and seems to have had a positive impact after it was installed at the toilets.”

The cost of installation is around £2,800 and members agreed to spend an extra £400 for the images to be accessed live via the internet.

Money is also being set aside towards a mobile CCTV camera which can be moved to different areas should issues arise.

Vandals have struck Dereham Cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt Vandals have struck Dereham Cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt

Mr Needham said they were shocked that the cemetery had suddenly become a target for vandals having been left alone in the past.

“We’ve just never had a problem up there before, particularly around the stained glass windows, but now some herberts have started to try and ruin it.”

The cost of repairs is not yet known but Mr Needham expects the bill to run into thousands of pounds.

“It is a specialist field, a craftsman’s job, to repair stained glass,” he said.

Vandals have struck Dereham Cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt Vandals have struck Dereham Cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt

“But it will be done and police have said they will put more patrols out.

“It is just mindless and inconsiderate, it just takes your breath away that anyone would do this to a cemetery where people’s loved ones are buried.”

* A new cemetery is close to completion on Norwich Road in Dereham which will serve the town for the next 200 years. It has a curved leaf design, a big departure from the traditional linear layout of the town’s Victorian cemetery. It is expected to come in under its £600,000 budget and the town council is planning a spring opening.

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