THE family of a granddad who was killed by a camper van he was working on are devastated after cherished trinkets were stolen from his grave.
The theft of a miniature camper van, two small Ringtons tea vans and a tiny horse and cart from Dennis Moon’s grave is one of many in recent months at Stranton Cemetery, in Hartlepool.
His heartbroken family say they believe there are lots more thefts than ones that go reported and council chiefs have vowed to step up patrols.
Dennis died on June 13 when an old van he was working on in a yard in the town’s Cromwell Street moved from its jacks and crushed him underneath.
Workers at nearby units found the 74-year-old 20 minutes later and tried to resuscitate him before an air ambulance, road paramedics and police arrived.
But despite their efforts, the dad to 47-year-old twins Jeff and Darren could not be saved.
Dennis’ sister, Marjorie Riley, 68, said a six-inch red and cream camper van, which had belonged to one of Dennis’ life-long pals, had been stolen from the grave at the end of June.
The green Ringtons tea vans, which belonged to Dennis and are collector’s items and the horse and cart model were taken a week later.
Marjorie said: “Thefts are going on more than people think.
“It’s shocking when you can’t even put things on a grave.”
Marjorie, a retired factory worker from Ventnor Avenue, Hartlepool, said Dennis is buried in the same grave as their mother, Elizabeth, who died last year aged 95, their father Edward, who passed away aged 83 in 1992 and Marjorie and Dennis’ brother Edward who died aged just six months old in 1941.
The mother-of-three, grandmother-of-seven and great-grandmother-of-one added: “The grave is in the older part of the cemetery and it has never been touched before.
“I can’t understand why they would take these things now.”
The Mail reported last month that a Pride of Hartlepool award presented to student Vicky Bown, which she placed on the grave of her mum, Denise, who died aged 53 from septicaemia in September 2009 following a battle with stomach cancer, was also stolen from the cemetery.
Last week, police appealed for information after sentimental ornaments were stolen from a six-month baby girl’s grave, also at the cemetery, between Thursday, July 21 and Thursday, July 28.
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “It is despicable to steal from a grave.
“This incident has been reported to us and we will be stepping up our security patrols in this area.”
The spokesman added that additional measures at the cemetery include a Friends of Stranton Cemetery group being set up and two CCTV cameras which are currently being installed.
● Anyone with information about thefts from the cemetery is urged to call Hartlepool Police on (01642) 326326 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.