Charity box snatched from crematorium

A collection box in aid of a medical emergency charity has been stolen from the ante-chamber of a crematorium.

The money box for the Hertfordshire Air Ambulance was snatched from the waiting room of Harwood Park chapel in Stevenage where mourners wait to say a final goodbye to their loved ones.

The first staff knew of the theft was when they saw a metal chain, used to secure the container to a table, dangling on the floor.

Manager Peter Hope said the incident had left a “nasty taste in the mouth”.

“It’s terrible really. It’s the type of people that are about these days. It makes it difficult for us. If we replace it they may just come back in a couple of months and take it.

“There was a fair amount of money in there. It’s rather disappointing when we are trying to help the charity. We chose Herts Air Ambulance as our charity of the year and it will make a dent in our fundraising.”

Mr Hope added that it was not the first time the crematorium, which is owned by Austin’s Funeral Directors, has been targeted by thieves.

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“We had a spate of thefts from cars while people were attending services. It’s really sad. Most of us are pulling in the right direction, but there are a few who don’t care.”