Cemetery hit by thief again

Stranton cemetery.
Stranton cemetery.

HEARTLESS criminals have struck again at a graveyard – with a mourner having her handbag stolen as she visited a deceased loved one.

The woman had the bag swiped from her car while it was parked in Stranton Cemetery, off Brierton Lane, in Hartlepool, on Saturday, February 25.

She had left her black Renault Laguna at around 2.30pm only to return to find her faux leather handbag, containing a black purse and a Nokia mobile phone, had been taken from the passenger footwell.

The callous crime comes just two weeks after the grave of keen cyclist Micheal Phillips was raided in the same cemetery on February 9.

A handbag thief also struck at the cemetery at the end of last year when another car was targeted on November 19 as a woman visited a relative’s grave.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Police in Hartlepool are appealing for information after a handbag was stolen from a parked car in Stranton Cemetery on Saturday.

“Anyone who may have any information is asked to contact PC John Tyson.”

The Hartlepool Mail reported how a heartless thief took a plaque and a metal model of a cyclist that had been put on Micheal’s grave to mark his 30th birthday on January 29.

Micheal was killed when he collided with a blue Ford Focus on the A1185, near Billingham, while out cycling on May 21, last year.

Micheal’s mum, Deborah Mitchell, 51, told the Mail it was the third time his grave had been raided.

Deborah, of Wensleydale Street, Hartlepool, said: “It’s bad enough losing someone so young without having their grave wrecked.”

The incident on November 19 saw a £200 YSL bag containing £150 in cash and make-up stolen from a car.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, said at the time: “I feel totally stressed out. I’m never going to forget this piece of rubbish for the rest of my life.”

PC Tyson can be contacted on (01642) 302110 or Crimstoppers on 0800 555111.