Mourners at Peterborough village cemetery left heartbroken after vandals leave trail of destruction

Hayley Brigham and Tracy Thorndike at the graveside of Star Thorndike following the vandalism spree
Hayley Brigham and Tracy Thorndike at the graveside of Star Thorndike following the vandalism spree

Mourners in a Peterborough village have been left heartbroken after vandals destroyed dozens of gravestones on a two night rampage.

Families were left in tears when they saw the damage at Thorney Cemetery, which was caused on Tuesday night and last night (Wednesday).

A number of gravestones had been kicked over and ornaments scattered.

Now Cambridgeshire police have said they have increased patrols in the area in an attempt to stop the vandals - who have been described as ‘the lowest of the low.’

The gravestone of Star Thorndike, Tracy Thorndike’s baby, was one of the monuments which was destroyed.

She said: “I was shocked to see what had happened. It is difficult to get your head round why someone would do this.

“There are a lot of people in tears here this morning.

“I come here a lot, and it was upsetting.

“It looks like it was a concerted effort - they spent a long time doing it.

“The cemetery is quite remote - we believe there is a local element to it.”

Matthew Smith was left distraught when the grave of his nine year-old sister was damaged in the spree.

Mr Smith said: “Yesterday (Wednesday) was the first incident when about 26 graves were kicked over. The police were called and things were tidied up.

“People thought it was down to a Halloween prank - but it happened again last night when more than 30 graves were kicked over.

“Its a small village and everyone knows everyone.

“I’m upset and angry. I can’t get my head round why someone would do it. People think it might be kids who did it, but people are brought up to respect graveyards.”

Cllr John Bartlett, chairman of Thorney Parish Council, which runs the graveyard, said: “It is mindless vandalism. We have never had anything like this since I have been here.
“I was up there this morning and a lot of people are very angry and upset.

“The stonemason has been to have a look today.

“We meet in two weeks time, when we should have a better idea on the insurance situation. We believe we are insured, but we will know the full picture at the meeting.”

Cllr Steve Allen, Peterborough city councillor for Eye, Thorney and Newborough, said: “It is dreadful. It is deeply disrespectful, and has come out of the blue.

“People have suggested CCTV should be in place, but we have to respect mourner’s wishes, who may not want CCTV,

“Whoever has done this is the lowest of the low.”

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said their crime scene investigation team had been to the scene yesterday, and would be returning today.

The spokesman said extra patrols would be carried out in the area following the vandalism.

Anyone with information about the incidents should contact Cambridgeshire police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.