A GRANDMOTHER has hit out at the heartless crooks who stole sentimental ornaments from her husband's grave for the fourth time.

Irene Morris visits her husband Bernard's grave at Colchester Cemetery and Crematorium, in Mersea Road, every morning.

At the memorial site she has placed flowers, ornaments and trinkets which mean something special to her or would have to her husband.

On Friday she visited the cemetery to find one of the plant pots she had specially chosen for the grave had been stolen and the flower inside had been discarded on the ground nearby.

Mrs Morris said: "It wasn't worth anything. I placed a pot by his grave and it had a geranium in it.

"These kind of things are worth pennies but someone went to the trouble of taking out the flowers to steal it.

"It is so upsetting. Thieves are the lowest of the low but especially when they're robbing graves.

"You just start to come to terms with things and then the pain of finding something missing from the grave brings back those feelings and upsets you."

Gazette: Bernard Morris' graveBernard Morris' grave

Mrs Morris says the incident is the fourth time items have been taken from her husband's graveside since he passed away after a battle against cancer in 2014.

Several members of the public have also told her similar stories about items being stolen from their own loved ones' graves.

Mrs Morris, who has five grandchildren, said: "When Bernard's ashes were first put over there I bought a butterfly ornament as he loved butterflies.

"It only cost about £5 but it only last two days. Another time a trough type things with shrubs in it was stolen.

"My grandchildren have put items at the grave before but I have had to bring them back and keep them at my house to ensure they won't be stolen.

"I've spoken to other people and things have been taken from children's graves before. That is despicable."

She added: "These things are insignificant to the people who take them but not to the people who put them there."

Mrs Morris lays no blame at the feet of Colchester Council, which maintains the cemetery, and praied the work of staff.

"It is such a lovely, well-kept cemetery and the gardeners work so hard but it is impossible for them to police things like this," she said.

A spokesperson for Colchester Council said: “Theft from Colchester Crematorium and Cemetery is rare, given the thousands of flowers and tributes left by mourners each year.

"Whilst we are sorry to hear about this recent incident, we make every effort to guard against theft and vandalism and do advise people not to leave items of monetary or sentimental value in the crematorium and cemetery grounds.”