Petition for CCTV cameras underway for cemetery
A PETITION has been launched to get CCTV cameras installed in a cemetery which has been plagued by vandalism in recent months.
Resident Leanda Chappell has launched the campaign for Bishop Auckland Town Cemetery after her mother’s grave had been desecrated at least five times.
She spoke out at the Bishop Auckland and Toronto Police and Communities Together (Pact) meeting in October and urged police and council chiefs to tackle the problem.
Shrubbery has been cleared and patrols by neighbourhood wardens have been increased but Miss Chappell said the issue will only go away when there is 24 hour monitoring of the area.
“Since that meeting there has been an improvement,” she said. “The bushes have been removed, a grit box has been filled and a fence has been up to stop access to the cemetery from the back.”
However, she added that although the number of incidents appeared to have fallen, she had recently come across a group of youths using the headstones for target practice with air rifles.
“It is hard enough for people to visit the cemetery in the first place but then be faced with problems like this is unacceptable,” she said.
“I have started this petition to get cameras installed as I think it is the only long term solution.
“I have been told there might be some objections on privacy grounds but the people I have spoken too in the cemetery are all in favour of them.”
Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg attended the Pact meeting in October and has requested a meeting in the cemetery off South Church Road next month to see the progress.
Miss Chappell added: “It is good that he wants to see what is happening. There is a responsibility to protect the cemetery and prevent any problems.
During the clear up three war graves and a homeless man were discovered by Durham County Council workers trying to remove a bush “the size of a bungalow.”
The shrubbery was being cleared in an attempt to prevent vandals hiding in it after several graves were desecrated and precious items stolen.
Anyone interested in signing the petition can see Miss Chappell or visit ipetitions.com/petition/cctv-for-bishop-auckland-town-cemetery
Witnesses to damage or thefts in the cemetery should call 03000-261000.