AFTER a recent spate of antisocial behaviour, vandalism and theft from graves, Thurrock Labour have called on the Conservative run council to start locking cemeteries at night again. Chadwell cemetery has been particularly badly affected by thoughtless vandalism last weekend.
Chadwell councillor, Sara Muldowney, said “When I questioned why the gates were no longer being locked, I was told it was a cost saving measure and that the decision would be reviewed if there were reports of crime or antisocial behaviour. Now, not only have we had the horrendous vandalism last weekend, but the weekend before I reported a gang of nuisance motorbikes and quad bikes in Chadwell cemetery terrorising residents trying to tend their loved ones’ graves. Local residents from Chadwell, Tilbury and other areas of the borough have been in contact to tell me that ornaments and other momentos they have lovingly laid on their relatives’ graves have been stripped and smashed. These items hold precious memories for families who no longer have loved ones with them and are absolutely devastated by their loss. It’s particularly upsetting when the loss has been recent and these momentos were placed until the gravestone could be placed. I have asked for the gates to be locked again after dark, as promised, only to be told this would not stop the vandals.”
Labour’s spokesperson on the Environment and Community Safety, Cllr Jane Pothecary, said “We know the council has financial problems but to leave our cemeteries vulnerable to this kind of thoughtless behaviour is an insult to the memory of those who rest there. Cemeteries are supposed to be a peaceful haven for families to remember their loved ones. They should not be left as an easy target for vandals. Thurrock Council needs to take some responsibility and work together with local communities to protect our cemeteries.”