CCTV victory at cemetery

Margaret Stallard at the entrance to Stranton Grange Cemetery with the petition for better security
Margaret Stallard at the entrance to Stranton Grange Cemetery with the petition for better security

THE aunt of a tragic toddler has welcomed the decision to install a new camera at the entrance to a cemetery in a bid to boost security and curb speeding motorists.

Margaret Stallard spearheaded a campaign for better CCTV coverage at Hartlepool’s Stranton Grange Cemetery after items were taken from her niece Taylor Stallard’s grave.

Taylor Stallard

Taylor Stallard

Taylor, known as “Hartlepool’s Little Princess”, died aged four in June 2009 after a lifelong battle against a string of conditions.

A flowerpot shaped as an Alice In Wonderland-style teapot and some orange lilies were taken from Taylor’s plot last year.

Yesterday, Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously backed plans to install a CCTV camera in Ardrossan Road, opposite the Brierton Lane entrance to the cemetery,

It is part of a series of measures which are aimed at boosting security at the site after a petition by Taylor’s family was backed by 2,500 people.

Delighted Margaret, 39, who co-ordinated the petition, said: “The council has taken this problem very seriously and it is brilliant that this camera will be installed.

“It has been fairly quiet at the cemetery in recent weeks and I think all of the publicity and the steps taken by the council have helped.

“I was up there earlier this week, and I do think things are getting better.”

Anti-social behaviour at the cemetery has included vandalism, vehicles speeding through the narrow access roads and flowers and memorials going missing from children’s graves.

The static camera, which will be at the top of a 24ft high pole, will be focused on the entrance to monitor cars coming in and out of the cemetery and it will also monitor their speed.

Another camera will be installed in Tanfield Road at the other access point to the cemetery.

Other measures include a media “respect” campaign, setting up a Friends of Stranton Cemetery Group, and co-ordinating patrols between the council’s contractor and neighbourhood policing teams.

There was no objection to the plans by residents and councillors unanimously backed the proposals.