Cemetery thief is branded ‘scum’

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A DAUGHTER has blasted a thief as “scum” after he stole a handbag from her car as she tended to her mum’s grave just feet away.

The woman was visiting Stranton Cemetery, in Hartlepool, when the raider cycled up to her unlocked car and grabbed a handbag and phone from the passenger seat.

She was only 4ft from the vehicle when the crime happened at 2.20pm on Saturday, November 19.

There was £150 in cash, a range of shop vouchers and make-up worth around £150 in the designer YSL bag, which itself cost £200.

The woman, who does not want to be identified, said: “I feel totally stressed out. I’m never going to forget this piece of rubbish for the rest of my life. I’m seething with anger.

“I go to the grave once a fortnight and there’s no way I’ll stop going so it’s worrying that there are people out there like this that I can’t avoid.”

She had parked up inside the cemetery to the left of the Tanfield Road entrance gates and only noticed her car had been

targeted when she pressed the key fob and it made a strange noise to indicate a door was open.

She then had to ask to use the phone of a stranger in the cemetery to call the police, and then had to visit a friend’s house to borrow money for petrol as her car was almost empty.

The woman believes she was targeted just over two months ago by the same man, but at that time she had got back in the car before he had the chance to steal anything.

She added: “I think it was him, I could tell then that there was something strange about him.

“He was at a grave that I know had nothing to do with him and then he started coming towards the car. I’d got back in it by then but he stared at me as he walked past.

“But if he thinks he can do this again to me he has another thing coming. I’ll put up a fight if he tries anything.”

The man from Saturday’s incident is described as white, aged between 20 and 30, and around 6ft tall. He was on a dark coloured mountain bike.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to contact PC Andrew Morland, of Hartlepool Police, on (01642) 302110 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.