‘Plaque damage left me grieving’ - Stevenage grandmother appalled by vandalism of memorials at Stevenage cemetery

A grandmother says she could have cried after seeing a field of memorial plaques vandalised at Almond Lane Cemetery in Stevenage.

Lorinda Hilliard, who lives in Pin Green, discovered the damage when she went to visit her father’s grave.

Her dad served in the Parachute Regiment in the 1950s and Lorinda visits his grave regularly to pay her respects since he passed away 14 years ago.

She said: “As I walked into the rose garden in the cemetery I was distraught to see that a lot of the plaques in memory of people had been destroyed.

“Somebody had stomped on about 20 of the plaques and they were all broken.

“I was very distressed and all I could think about was that it was somebody’s family in there. It breaks my heart, it almost makes me cry.”

The cemetery is open to the public every day and evening, and Lorinda says that’s part of the problem.

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“The trouble is the easy access. Anybody could get in there any time of the day or night,” she said.

Lorinda said she was even more disappointed when she was told by Stevenage Borough Council her complaint would not be taken seriously because she is not a relative of the deceased the plaques belong to.

She said: “I spoke to a lady who said there was nothing she could do unless a family member contacted her about the problem.

“I am shocked that this is not treated as a serious matter. Has society gone so far that we no longer have respect for the dead?”

A spokesman for Stevenage Borough Council said: “We are aware of the damage to some plaques at Almond Lane Cemetery and are investigating the cause. Acts of reported vandalism at our cemeteries are extremely rare.

“If vandalism is the cause of the damage then we work in partnership with local organisations, including the police, to reduce and prevent future cases.”