THIEVES who targeted the chapel at Gainsborough’s General Cemetery have been branded ‘despicable’ by people who work to maintain the burial ground.
The wooden doors to the listed chapel were smashed open last week by thieves who made off with two leaf blowers.
The valuable pieces of gardening kit belonged to Gainsborough Town Council, and had been stored there as a one-off over night.
“Unfortunately anything is fair game nowadays and there is no deterrent to stop thieves taking what they can get,” said Jimmy Snee, the town council’s environmental officer.
“They are despicable low-lives to do this, in a cemetery of all places.”
Mr Snee and his team work hard to keep the cemetery in good condition for the people who visit their loved ones’ graves, or who just enjoy a walk in the sprawling grounds on Cox’s Hill.
He explained how the chapel had been restored inside and is still used for services and exhibitions.
“They just smashed the locks off, grabbed what they saw and made a runner,” he said.
The alarm was activated at around 8.25pm on Monday 20th February. But it was not until the next morning Mr Snee realised what had happened.
Two petrol engine Stihl leaf blowers, valued at £200 each, were stolen in the break-in.
“We don’t normally keep equipment in the chapel. It was a one-off,” said Mr Snee.
“It’s a huge site so it can’t be policed 24/7. We’re asking for the public’s help to please report anything suspicious that they see,” he said.
Susan Edlington from Friends of the General Cemetery said: “We have put a lot of work into the cemetery so it is obviously this is disappointing news.”
“We don’t want any more damage doing to the chapel, it is a very precious place to us.”
The chapel is of great historical importance to Gainsborough, dating back to 1876 when it was opened by the Bishop Christopher Wordsworth, nephew of the famous poet William Wordsworth.
Police want to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious on that evening, particularly on the path at the bottom of the cemetery.
They also want to know if either of the leaf blowers have been offered for sale in the local area.
Call Lincolnshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting incident 37 of the 20th February.