Cremation plaques sold as scrap metal

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CROOKS without a conscience are stealing metal plaques from graves – for scrap value.

The small brass memorials, no bigger than an envelope, would only fetch a couple of pounds from scrap dealers.

Yet to grieving families, they are irreplaceable, said the latest victims, Bletchley couple Steve and Valerie McNally.

“How can anybody sink so low?” said Valerie. “It is a horrible thing to do.”

Steve’s grandparents Caroline and William Garrett died in 1962 and 1971 respectively. They were both cremated and the family bought a double memorial plot at Fenny Stratford cemetery.

“They both had plaques made of metal saying, ‘in loving memory’ and their names,” said Valerie.

“It was lovely because they were side by side.”

But when the couple went to lay flowers at the cemetery last week they were horrified to find the plaques had been ripped up and stolen.

“They are of no use to anybody else so they must have been stolen for scrap,” said Valerie.

She is now urging the council to consider locking the cemetery, which hit the headlines last week after a body was exhumed as part of a police investigation.

“Lots of gravestones have been vandalised or destroyed. It is not nice at all,” she said.

A spokesman for Milton Keynes council said: “There have been around half a dozen thefts of these commemorative metal plates from Fenny Stratford cemetery over the past year. It is a problem, and we have been gently advising people to replace their loved ones’ commemorative plaques with ceramic ones where they feel it is appropriate.

“It’s difficult because the cemetery is open 24 hours a day – members of the public can freely pass through the cemetery from one side of Fenny Stratford to the other. We also have to sensitively balance the needs for security with the rights of people to tend the burial plots of their loved ones. ”

“We would of course always advise people to contact the police if they see anything suspicious.”