Woman jailed for stealing from Hartlepool graves

An ornament believed to have been stolen from a town cemetery
An ornament believed to have been stolen from a town cemetery

A woman has been jailed for stealing cherished ornaments from grave sides in a Hartlepool cemetery.

Cheryl Smailes, aged 36, took 15 mementos from eight plots in Stranton Cemetery, between May and July this year.

Hartlepool Law Courts, incorporating Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.

Hartlepool Law Courts, incorporating Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.

She was sentenced to 40 weeks prison when she appeared at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Smailes, of Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to eight counts of theft by finding relating to the cemetery thefts.

They included taking ornamental chreubs, fairies, Buddhas and angels.

One ornamental fairy was valued at £250, while most were worth between £20 to £30.

An ornament believed to have been stolen from a town cemetery

An ornament believed to have been stolen from a town cemetery

Hartlepool Police released pictures of the ornaments in a bid to reunite them with their rightful owners last month.

They had been found and recovered from an address in the Rossmere area of town.

Among them were two stone cherubs that police were investigating the theft of from Stranton Cemetery, in Brierton Lane.

Smailes also admitted four shoplifting charges.

An ornament believed to have been stolen from a town cemetery

An ornament believed to have been stolen from a town cemetery

They included stealing clothes priced £58 from Aldi on August 1 and toiletries and hair products from Lloyds Pharmacy on three occasions worth over £90.

Hartlepool Police welcomed the court sentence. They posted a message on their Facebook account saying: “Police would like to thank the public for their help with regards to these matters.”

The thefts come a year after devastated Hartlepool couple Ann-Marie Scotney and Carl Gorse had to deal with a string of disgraceful thefts from their precious baby Aston Scotney-Gorse’s grave.

The theft included a small granite headstone which bore his name and details.

An ornament believed to have been stolen from a town cemetery

An ornament believed to have been stolen from a town cemetery

They said at the time they felt they had been left with no other option but to put a security camera on the grave in a bid to protect it. Police launched an appeal earlier this year after items were believed to have been taken from a grave in Hartlepool.

Officers recovered three suspected stolen solar lights, believed to have been taken from a grave in Stranton cemetery in Hartlepool.

An ornament believed to have been stolen from a town cemetery

An ornament believed to have been stolen from a town cemetery