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'Disgraceful' thieves strike again at cemetery as tributes to 94-year-old are stolen

PUBLISHED: 12:49 02 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:49 02 March 2019

Frank Beaver, daughter Susan Smart, grandson Jamie Smart and great-grandaughter Maisie. Photos courtesy of Smart family

Frank Beaver, daughter Susan Smart, grandson Jamie Smart and great-grandaughter Maisie. Photos courtesy of Smart family

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A grieving family has hit out at "disgraceful" thieves after tributes to a 94-year-old were stolen and destroyed, less than 24 hours after his funeral.

The teacup and saucer stolen from Frank Beaver's grave at Kirkley Cemetery. Photos courtesy of Smart familyThe teacup and saucer stolen from Frank Beaver's grave at Kirkley Cemetery. Photos courtesy of Smart family

Great-great-grandfather Frank Beaver was buried at Kirkley Cemetery on Thursday, but became the latest victim on Friday.

Just days earlier, three-year-old Cohen Messenger’s grave, also at Kirkley Cemetery, was raided.

Mr Beaver’s grandson Jamie Smart, who had travelled from Cheshire for the funeral, said: “He was buried on Thursday and some of the family went back to the grave after the wake to see the flowers and read the cards. Because I didn’t, I went with my mother on Friday to see them before I left.

“When we got there about 1pm I noticed there was something missing. There had been a big tea cup and saucer that my cousin had made from her children. The card that went with it was disregarded on the floor.

Frank Beaver's grave at Kirkley Cemetery. Photos courtesy of Smart familyFrank Beaver's grave at Kirkley Cemetery. Photos courtesy of Smart family

“We started to look and saw flowers had been pulled out and thrown all over his grave.

“The whole family are quite saddened by it and angry that someone can do something like this. He hadn’t even been in the ground 24 hours.”

A week before, birthday presents were stolen from Cohen’s grave, just weeks after he was laid to rest.

Mr Smart said: “It was in the same graveyard as the poor little boy last week, and we can see his grave from grandad’s.

The space where the teacup and saucer had been. Photos courtesy of Smart familyThe space where the teacup and saucer had been. Photos courtesy of Smart family

“We want to get the word out there that this is happening and it has happened again.

“Something needs to be done.

“There are people who have spent their life in the town, paying their taxes, and they are not being looked after. It is disrespectful.

“I hope whoever it was feels ashamed.”

Birthday presents were stolen from Cohen Messenger's grave in February. Picture: Nick ButcherBirthday presents were stolen from Cohen Messenger's grave in February. Picture: Nick Butcher

Mr Beaver, who has four children, 11 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren, lived on the Whitton estate for much of his life.

Mr Smart said: “He was a character and did no harm to anyone in his whole life. He never said a wrong word to anyone. It is a disgrace.

“He moved into his house when it was built and was there ever since.

“All of his neighbours knew him around there and they would all stop and talk to him.”

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