Callous thieves stealing flowers and trinkets from memorial stones at Huddersfield Crematorium

Family wants Kirklees to take more action to catch those responsible

Pauline Pitchfork, with daughter Melissa Simons, replacing flowers on her husband Harry's headstone at Huddersfield Crematorium

Callous thieves have been stealing flowers from memorial stones at Huddersfield Crematorium.

Now a family who has suffered three thefts over the last year has urged Kirklees Council to do more to catch the thieves.

Melissa Simons’ father, Harry Pitchfork, died seven years ago and his ashes are within a memorial stone at the sanctum at the crematorium in Fixby.

Harry, 59, who was a magistrate in Huddersfield and also a driver for emergency on-call doctors, died from a severe infection.

His widow, Pauline – who lives in Crosland Moor – goes to the memorial stone every couple of days and there are always plants and fresh flowers on Harry’s memorial stone.

Harry Pitchfork's headstone at the Sanctum at Huddersfield Crematorium
Harry Pitchfork's headstone at the Sanctum at Huddersfield Crematorium
 

Melissa, 38, of Linthwaite, said: “Over the last year we have had three instances of flowers stolen. Bournville was dad’s favourite chocolate and whisky too but when we have put a small bar or a miniature bottle those next to the stone they have been taken too.

“Other families tell us they have suffered similar thefts. One of my friends put a solar light next to a memorial stone but that went as well.

“We have complained but staff at the crematorium say they can’t be there 24 hours a day and we understand that. But couldn’t some kind of camera be put up to catch whoever is responsible? After all, people pay a reasonable amount for cremations and the memorial stones aren’t cheap.

“We realise that in terms of monetary value these are small items but the emotion attached to them is far greater. The memorial stone is all we have left.

“Anyone who can do such a thing is an absolute lowlife and I just can’t understand why anyone would do it. They don’t seem to have any conscience at all. It’s just disgraceful.”

A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said they would not be able to do anything.

She said: “We are sorry to hear of the theft of flowers from the crematorium. This is the first complaint we have had of this nature and we are unaware of any other thefts.

“As the site is a public right of way it would not be possible to restrict access. The council would not be able to fund CCTV.”

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