Decorative stones have been stolen from three graves recently leaving a number of local families distraught.
In what Gardai have described as a “highly unusual” incidents, the coloured marble pebbles or stones spread over the surface of graves were taken in two separate incidents in Castledaly, and another in Mount Temple, which were only discovered in recent weeks after relatives visited the cemeteries.
“I find very hard to imagine people going in and taking stones off people’s final resting place,” one shocked local person, who didn’t wish to be named, said recently after the stones were removed from her relative’s graves.
“People obviously wanted new stones or they were selling them on,” the woman said, warning people to check their family plot to ensure they have not become a victim of this type of terrible crime, which she believes may have taken place at night and in cemeteries where you can drive up right beside the graves.
A Garda spokesperson said they have never come across incidents like this before and they are extremely “upsetting” for grieving families, particularly elderly people.
They have appealed to anyone who noticed people working at graves at unusual times of the day between October and December in Castledaly or Dunegan Cemetery in Mount Temple, or anything unusual or out of the ordinary at either of these sites, however small, to get in touch with them in complete confidence.
It is possible that other graves have been targeted in this way but have yet to be discovered, the spokesperson added, saying that they believe the reported incidents could have happened weeks and possibly months before the damage was first found.