Flowers were stolen on two separate occasions after a grieving man laid them on his sister’s grave.
Wayne Chedzey, 42, who lives in Upper Heyford, Bicester, laid a lily on his sister’s grave in St. Edburg’s Church cemetery after she was buried 8 months ago.
To his disgust, the flower had been stolen from his sister’s resting place when he visited a few months later.
Mr Chedzey then replaced the stolen flower with a lavender plant, only to find that this too had been stolen after a few more weeks.
Mr Chedzey said: “It’s totally disrespectful. I don’t know what the world is coming to.
“It’s lower than low, you don’t steal from somebody’s grave. How would the culprit feet if they had it done to a family member of theirs? It’s disgusting.”
More Bicester residents came forward to share their stories after Mr Chedzey posted his experience on Facebook.
One resident said: “It happened to me too. I bought two lots of artificial flowers for £24 and someone stole them from my friend’s grave.
“I purchased them in December and laid them on the grave, went back in January and one bunch had gone.
“Then in February the other bunch had gone too. It’s quite sad really, stealing from the dead.”
Mayor of Bicester, Alex Thrupp, said: “People doing this kind of thing does not sit well with me.
“And I don’t think it would sit well with many. If anybody is experiencing this, please feel free to reach out to councillors.
“We’ll see what we can do to help in this space. It must be very distressing to these people.
“We’ll check what feasible options we’ve got with regards to preventing this kind of thing from happening.”
Mr Chedzey said he doesn’t think the cemetery is very well maintained anymore, stating that the gates don’t ever seem to be locked at night and the grass is always overgrown.
He also complained about antisocial behaviour – mainly around drinking and drug use – going on in the cemetery, and suggested that the thefts could be related.
Cherwell District Council approved a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) on June 6, which entered into force on Tuesday, June 21.
The order covers St. Edburg’s Cemetery and grants community wardens and the police new powers to tackle antisocial behaviour such as that seen in the graveyard.
Councillor for Bicester West, Les Sibley, said: “I support the initiative, especially in regards to antisocial behaviour.
“Graveyards and cemeteries are very important, people don’t appreciate that cemeteries are classed as part of open space, and we certainly need to protect our open spaces from vandalism and antisocial behaviour.”
This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.
Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.
Get in touch with him by emailing: [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1
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