Fury as vandals target graves

James Birnie beside the grave of his parents, which was recently vandalised. (Photo by Fife Photo Agency)
James Birnie beside the grave of his parents, which was recently vandalised. (Photo by Fife Photo Agency)
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Grieving families in Newburgh have issued an impassioned plea to help find the mindless vandals who wrecked the graves of their loved ones.

Evelyn Birnie contacted the Fife Herald after visiting Newburgh Cemetery to pay her respects to her late parents-in-law – and was horrified to find remembrance vases wrenched out and tossed aside; flowers strewn everywhere and rose bowls scattered over the grass.

One grave had even been piled high with ornaments, flowers and other artefacts that had been removed from other graves.

“We went to lay flowers on the grave of my mother-in-law on what would have been her birthday,” explained Mrs Birnie.

“My father-in-law, who only died in June, is also buried there. But we were shocked and upset to find all the flowers and ornaments on the grave had been taken off and pulled out of the ground, and the rose from the bowl had been thrown aside.

“However, this had not just happened to the grave of our family and the damage wasn’t limited to one or two graves – most of the graves on the right hand side had been

vandalised.”

Mrs Birnie said she replaced all the items on to the graves she knew, then contacted the daughter of the man whose grave had been piled high with artefacts.

She in turn contacted the police – but the horrified families hold out little hope of the vandals being caught.

“I do not know who was responsible for it and probably never will,” said Mrs Birnie.

“But I would ask parents to mention it to their children and stress the importance of respecting those who have died and the comfort that visiting should give people.”

She continued: “Newburgh Cemetery is well-kept and a pretty little cemetery and in all my years I can’t remember it suffering at the hands of mindless vandals.

“It is bad enough to lose people, but to see that makes it even more upsetting for decent human beings.”

After the Fife Herald reported the matter to Fife Council on behalf of the families , the local authority pledged to launch an investigation.

William Greig, bereavement services officer, said: “We’re currently investigating a complaint about items being damaged at Newburgh Cemetery.

“It appears that flowers have been damaged and some items either stolen or broken. If any one’s had any items broken or damaged can they please get in touch with me so we can investigate further.”

He added: “We would advise members of the public to be cautious when placing items in any of Fife’s cemeteries, particularly if it’s of sentimental or monetary value.”

Mr Greig, who is based at Dunfermline Crematorium, can be contacted on 01383 602335.