Hartlepool community group left devastated after 'horrific' vandalism at North Cemetery
A Hartlepool community group has been left devastated after a vandalism attack caused significant damage at North Cemetery.
The incident, which occurred overnight between Friday, September 3 and Saturday, September 4 saw vandals destroy a circular bench in the park, which was made by local craftsmen, school pupils and the Friends of North Cemetery community group.
The bench, and the work that went into it, was a point of pride in the cemetery and the Friends group has been left heartbroken by the destruction.
Upon seeing the vandalism for the first time, group chairman Gary Allen described the scenes as “gut wrenching”.
He told the Mail: “When we saw the pictures of what happened I was absolutely gutted. It’s horrific to see the state of it.
"Sometimes when you see vandalism it’s just a little thing done by kids that can be easily fixed but this is a sustained attack that’s just ruined a lovely area for people to sit and it’s just absolutely gut wrenching.
“I hope the people who’ve done this see the reaction from people on social media and feel ashamed for what they’ve done.
"There’s good people in this town, more good than bad, and I hope they see the reaction and feel shame for their actions.”
Members of the Friends group will be meeting in due course to discuss what action to take following the vandalism – but, there are concerns that any repairs of the bench could encourage a similar attack in future.
Gary added: “We’ll meet up and discuss what’s next but there is that worry that if we repair or replace the bench the same thing could just happen again which is a real shame.
“We try to keep the profile of the cemetery going as much as possible, it doesn’t get used anymore and is mainly a site for dog walkers and people walking through so it’s a ‘use it or lose it’ type area.
"It’s a lovely area so this incident is just a real shame.”
The Friends of North Cemetery is a small community group, whose members look after and maintain the cemetery site as volunteers.
Their work includes litter picks, cemetery maintenance and historical walks around the cemetery.