Car burnt out as vandals lay waste to historic Hartlepool cemetery

Spion Kop Cemetery
Spion Kop Cemetery

Cemetery officials are appealing for people to be their eyes and ears to help clamp down on vandalism at a Hartlepool resting place.

There has been a spate of recent acts of anti-social behaviour at the Headland’s Spion Kop Cemetery including a car being set on fire.

The remains of the burned out car at Spion Kop Cemetery

The remains of the burned out car at Spion Kop Cemetery

A stone collie dog which was placed on the plot of well-known Headlander Charlie Bantoft also went missing after ten years and is believed to have been stolen.

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “The burned out car was removed as soon as we became aware of it and a damaged bollard that is designed to prevent unauthorised vehicle access is being replaced.

“Whenever incidents of this nature occur, we liaise closely with the police.

“Although the Spion Kop Cemetery is quite isolated, we would appeal to people in the area to act as our eyes and ears and report incidents or suspicious activity by calling the police on 101.”

It is people’s loved ones up there and they should be respected

Friends of Spion Kop Cemetery

Headland resident and artist Lisa Empson said acts of vandalism are becoming a recurring problem.

She said: “There is still a lot of debris from the burnt out car including the rear lights and lots of glass.

“It is so disappointing because I can see every time I go up the vandals have been there again and toppled something over.

“I often see a car running away at speed. It needs the police to call round every once in a while.

Spion Kop Cemetery

Spion Kop Cemetery

“It is such a shame because the cemetery is an important part of our history.

“A lot of the graves are well cared for, even people’s relatives that died many years ago.”

The cemetery is now closed except for the reopening of existing family plots.

The Friends of Spion Kop Cemetery group also expressed its disappointment and urged people who see anything to contact the council or police.

Spion Kop Cemetery

Spion Kop Cemetery

Cath Torley, of the group, said: “We had a problem with car crime over the last few years, but it settled down.

“We are disappointed at the mindless vandalism that’s going on.

“It is people’s loved ones up there and they should be respected.”

The collie dog at the grave of Charlie Bantoft, who died in 2005, went missing earlier last month.

It has since been replaced with a seabird in recognition of Charlie’s 50 years of rescuing seabirds.

His enthusiasm for the safety of wildlife led him to investigate the deaths of hundreds of birds he thought died suspiciously.