FAMILY members have been left devastated after personal tributes they left at a graveside were destroyed.
Three cards to mark what would have been Cindy McKie’s 48th birthday were placed on her grave in Hartlepool’s Stranton Cemetery on Monday.
They had been left there by Cindy’s sisters Mandy Sabin and Lynn McKie and their mother Winnie McKie.
But when they returned the following day the cards had been ripped up.
Two of them were found in nearby rubbish bins and the third was left torn up at the plot.
The family have reported the incident to police who are investigating the case.
Cindy, a mum of two, died aged 47 last October, in James Cook Hospital in Middlebsbrough.
After a routine operation, she fell and struck her head and suffered a brain haemorrhage.
Mandy, 50, from West View, Hartlepool, said: “It happened from us leaving at 1pm on Monday and my sister going back on Tuesday morning.
“I’m mortified. My card was torn up and left on the grave.”
Sister Lynn, 51, of Dyke House, said: “It is a wicked thing to do.”
Winnie, 76, also from Dyke House, left a small plastic card bearing a memorial message which was later found in a bin after being cut in half.
She said: “I just can’t understand why anybody would do something like that.
“Cindy was peace itself.”
In January, Hartlepool Borough Council agreed funding towards two new cameras to cover the entrances in Tanfield Road and Brierton Lane.
It followed numerous incidents of plots being targeted by vandals and a campaign by Margaret Stallard, the aunt of toddler Taylor Stallard whose plot had items taken from it.
She collected a 2,500 signature petition.
CCTV footage is set to be studied to try and identify those responsible for the latest incident.
A Cleveland Police spokesman said: “Police are investigating and following up inquiries.”