Memorial bench theft ‘disgusting’

Headland Bowling Club members Keith Smurthwaite and Fred Stringer(right) pictured oposite the place where the memorial bench was stolen from

Headland Bowling Club members Keith Smurthwaite and Fred Stringer(right) pictured oposite the place where the memorial bench was stolen from

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ANGRY bowling club members have hit out at heartless thieves who stole a memorial bench.

The heavy bench was bolted to the ground and would have needed a number of people to remove it.

Members of Headland Moor Bowling Club, in Friar Terrace, Hartlepool, were shocked to turn up at the club for a game on Monday morning to find the bench was missing.

Thieves had made their way on to the green over the weekend and took the bench, which was bought by the family in memory of member Ted Lister.

Shocked members were disgusted somebody could take an item donated in memory of someone’s life.

Police are asking anyone with information to come forward in the hope of the club getting the bench back.

Club chairman Bob Burrell has been a member for 30 years and said he has never known an incident like it.

Bob, 82, said: “All the members are really downhearted.

“It’s just disgusting to think that a family has clubbed together and bought a memorial bench and some heartless people have stolen it.

“There has been talk of putting a steel fence up around the club to keep them out, but why should we have to do that?

“It takes the beauty away.Members were at the club on Friday and the bench was there then. But when we came in on Monday morning it was gone.”

Keith Smurthwaite, 69, has been a member at the club for 15 years.

Keith, who lives on the Headland, said: “All the members are in shock, it is just such a heartless thing to do.

“I would ask the people who have done this to just think about their actions.

“What kind of thing is that to do, so much for respecting the dead.”

Club officials say they may now have to organise charity nights to try to raise money for a new bench.

A Cleveland Police spokesman said: “We received a report of a theft of a memorial bench and are investigating.

“Stealing something that has been given in memory of someone’s life is a callous act.”

Anyone with information about the theft can call PC Tom McLeod on (01642) 302178 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.