'It’s horrendous’ - Spate of flower thefts from mid-Norfolk cemeteries

A new cemetery is planned for Dereham - The current cemetery on Cemetery Road. Picture: Matthew Ushe

Dereham's old cemetery on Cemetery Road. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Mid-Norfolk’s cemeteries have been hit by a spate of thefts of flowers and other ornaments left at loved ones’ graves.

Margaret Steward, from Scarning, had flowers taken from family graves at Scarning churchyard and at the old Dereham cemetery north of the town centre. 

Ms Steward said it was not the first time flowers had been stolen from either graveyard.

“It’s horrendous. Why would someone steal flowers off a loved one’s grave?” she said.

She added: “It’s not a very nice thing to come across, but then it seems to be the norm these days. If somebody wants something, they just take it, don’t they?”

Dereham Town Council has responsibility for the cemetery. In a statement, town clerk Tony Needham said: “Thankfully thefts from the cemetery are really unusual.

"There have been occasions where fresh flowers appear to have been damaged or thrown about but this [can be] most likely attributed to wild deer or rabbits.” 

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Mr Needham added: “Where thefts have occurred in the past we have encouraged people to report such incidents to the police so that the thefts can investigate accordingly. The town council would then work with the police as needed.”

Ms Steward said she had not contacted the police because she imagined “it would be a complete and utter waste of time".

"Can you imagine the police getting involved with somebody’s stolen flowers?" she said.

"I just think it’s life: that’s what happens these days. There’s no respect for other people’s property.” 

Several people from across Dereham and surrounding villages responded to Ms Steward’s Facebook post on the Dereham Community Noticeboard page with similar stories. 

One woman called Christine, who did not wish to be fully named, said that she had left an artificial arrangement for her father, but the flowers had been taken upon her return. She said the theft made her feel “sick inside.”

Christine, who lives in Dereham, added: “It took me a year before I could leave more flowers as I didn't want to go through that again and that made me feel awful.”
 
Others said that they had had potted roses and model robins stolen from cemeteries in the area.
 
The reverend of Scarning Church has been contacted for comment. 

Have you had flowers stolen from cemeteries in the Dereham area? Contact noah.vickers@archant.co.uk with your story.

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