Widow devastated by cemetery thief

A WIDOW has been left badly shaken after her car was broken into and valuables stolen while she was visiting her husband’s grave.

Alzira Nooney of Trajan Gate in Stevenage was devastated after returning to her car at Weston Road cemetery in the town on Saturday morning to find one of the windows smashed and her mobile phone gone.

She had been making a regular visit to the grave of her husband Patrick, who died suddenly last year. The couple had been married for 23 years.

“It was very distressing and disturbing. I only recently lost my husband and I’m coming to terms with that. Now I’m worried about going up there,” she said.

Mrs Nooney was not the only victim of the crime that took place between 11am and 11.30am. Another car was also smashed into. She lost her handbag containing her purse.

“She had just been to the bank,” Mrs Nooney said. “They stole her money and cards. She was visiting her parents. She was very distressed.

“It’s so shocking. It was such a lovely day, there were a lot of people there. You don’t expect this to happen. A lot of elderly people go there.”

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She criticised the lack of council employees at the site, which would deter thieves.

“You never see any staff. The centre is locked – you can’t get in. They do have a book of remembrance but you can’t get to that. There is never anybody there.”

Stevenage Borough Council took the decision last year to move the site’s cemetery officer to its Cavendish Road office to allow for “improved cover for absences”.

A council spokesman said it was the first reported incident of vandalism or anti-social behaviour at Weston Road since the move.

“Staff visit the site at regular intervals and the cemetery service is unaffected, with toilet facilities open as usual and a member of staff ensuring that the memorial book is turned every day of the year including Christmas and bank holidays.”

Herts Police officers are analysing CCTV footage from the site as part of an ongoing investigation. The constabulary urged anyone with any information about the theft, which included a handbag with a Marilyn Monroe print, an LG hot chocolate mobile phone, designer reading glasses and a glittery purse, to call 101 quoting crime reference E1/12/303.