Heartbreak as statue stolen from cemetery

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A HEARTBROKEN family has hit out at thieves who stole a statue from a cemetery.

Delva Taplin cannot believe that thieves would sink so low as to steal a stone Staffordshire bull terrier statue from the grave of her brother Byron Dodge, who died in 2007 at the age of 35.

Her parents Byron and Morrel Dodge discovered the statue was missing when they visited his grave in Stamford Cemetery in Little Casterton Road on Wednesday evening last week.

The couple, who live in Haddon Road, Stamford, wanted to spend some time at the grave on their way home from celebrating Mr Dodge’s 60th birthday but this milestone day was soured by the theft.

Now Mrs Taplin, 41, of Elizabeth Road, Stamford, is appealing for help in tracking down the statue, which has sat on her brother’s grave for three years.

She said: “My parents are very upset and can’t believe anyone could be so heartless. These people haven’t had someone close to them die because if they did they would know what it feels like. It is terrible. This is unspeakable.

“Every time we go down to his grave we can talk to him. Now someone has done this, my brother would be heartbroken.”

The family had opted for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier as Mr Dodge had owned two, Geri and Albert, prior to his death. Sadly Geri had died.

Mr and Mrs Dodge had visited their son’s grave on Tuesday night last week when he statue was still there but it was missing on their visit the following day.

The family have reported the matter to the police but are hoping that Mercury readers may help them to track down the statue.

Mrs Taplin, whose children Ashlee, 17, Amelia, 11 and four-year-old Nina have also been affected by the theft, is appealing for help.

She said: “All I want them to do is just please put it back. They think it is a statue but to us it is a lot more than that.”

Sector Insp Gary Stewart said: “This is a thoroughly unpleasant crime that shows utter disrespect to a family that is already grieving.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 0300 111 0300.