A MOTHER has said she has been left ‘heartbroken’ after a wreath was taken from her baby’s grave at a church in Droitwich.

Rebecca Walker placed a wreath on her son Harry’s grave at St Augustine’s Church on December 8.

When she went to visit him on Sunday, December 27, she noticed that it was gone.

Rebecca, who used to live in Droitwich and now lives Inkberrow with her husband Jake and two-year-old son, Leo, said she believes the wreath was stolen after talking online with other mums who have also had property stolen from graves at the church and other churches in the town.

She said: “With everything that is going on at the moment it was the last thing that we ever expected.

“I didn’t realise that there were such heartless people who could do such a cruel thing.

“We’ve had bits and pieces go missing in the past, like little soft toys but we just assumed that it was animals, but looking back now, I’m not so sure.

“Others have had the same thing happen to them and it’s happened at quite a lot of churches in the area – it does sound like there are people going around doing it.

“To steal off any grave at all let alone a baby’s, I think is absolutely disgusting.

“It was just heartbreaking going up there and thinking a complete stranger had been to our baby’s grave and then taken his possession; it broke our hearts.”

Reverend Laura Handy, of the Church of England in Droitwich, said:"We are so sorry to hear about the theft from baby Harry's grave recently and can imagine the distress that this would cause. No family should have to deal with this kind of heartless behaviour as they continue to grieve.

"We were contacted by one family a few weeks ago who had had a similar thing happen at another graveyard, but are upset to hear that this problem has been more widespread and hadn't seen the social media posts.

"One of the real blessings of the nine graveyards that we have responsibility for is that they are open all of the time to allow families to visit their loved one's grave and spend those moments of thought and reflection when that is helpful. The associated challenge is that they are open to the public with no control over who visits. We are thankful that the majority of visitors to the churchyards treat them as they should be treated with respect to honour the memory of those who have been laid to rest.

"It is hard to imagine how anyone can steal from any grave, particularly that of a precious little one that has been laid to rest like Harry. Sadly and very frustratingly a very small minority abuse the fact that the churchyards are open.

"Graves traditionally have a gravestone or memorial tablet which is a permanent and secure way for the grave to be marked and for the person to be honoured. Unfortunately there is a small risk when other items are placed on the graves. Thankfully most of the time these remain where they should be, but it is of course deeply distressing when this isn't the case and someone takes advantage of items being left there.

"It is difficult to know how to combat this problem, because of course it happens when the churchyards are quiet. It is really helpful to know about these moments and for them to be reported so that ourselves, community police officers and others can be aware and be vigilant. The location and type of space but also the cost of CCTV for nine graveyards makes it impossible with church funds coming solely from donations almost entirely given by those attending services and other things that take place in the churches.

"To those who carry out such thefts we would ask that they would consider the pain that is caused to families who are already going through the difficult journey of grief, something that we all experience in different ways during our lives. We want the churchyards to be places of respect and peace and are thankful to all those in the community that help this to be the case."