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Earby widow devastated after fire attack on graveside
8:00am Friday 31st August 2012 in Skipton & District
An Earby woman was left devastated after discovering vandalism at her husband’s grave.
Widow Lesley Norton, whose husband Peter died eight years ago, went to visit his grave at Earby Cemetery and was horrified at what she found .
“They burned an angel and all the silk and fresh flowers that I had put around the grave,” said Mrs Norton. “It was all black and was just awful.
“I was distraught when I went there,” she added. “I can’t understand how anybody can do this sort of thing, they must be sick. Why can’t they just let him rest in peace?”
Mrs Norton said that her husband was a well- loved man, who was a respected teacher at West Craven High School, Barnoldswick .
“This is not the first time there has been vandalism on his grave,” said Mrs Norton. “In past years, people have pulled up plants, stolen another angel I had put there and smashed beer bottles against the grave.
“Something needs to be done about this. They need CCTV cameras.”
Pendle Council’s parks and cemeteries department, which looks after the borough’s six cemeteries, sent an officer to investigate and the police have also been contacted.
“When Mrs Norton contacted me about the vandalism, I went out to meet her at the cemetery the same day,” said cemeteries officer Robert Careswell. “Naturally she’s upset about the recurrence of vandalism at her husband’s memorial and we’re keen to put a stop to it.
“We understand that the police are currently investigating. We have also asked the local police community support officer to include the cemetery on their patrols. Our own environmental crime team will include it on their regular patrols of the area too.”
The police have had other problems with damage in the area. Several dry stone walls near the cemetery and on nearby footpaths have been knocked down, including some new damage to a wall that had been repaired only a few weeks ago.
A local borough councillor has also investigated the fire damage and spoken out about the vandalism.
“It’s terrible and disgusting,” said Coun Morris Horsfield (Cons, Earby). “There is a lot of upset when things like this are done.”
Coun Horsfield was also critical of the police and the level of policing in Earby.
“I’m not happy with the police at all,” he said. “We need to get back to local policing.”