Shock after plaques stolen from cemetery

Bruce Tweedy,66 and RSA President Ivan Norton, 88 upset that someone has stolen RSA plaques from Springston Cemetery.

“I can’t fathom why somebody would do it.”

That’s the reaction of Lincoln resident Bruce Tweedy who is in disbelief over the theft of a bronze plaque on his parents’ grave from Springston Cemetery.

The bronze plaque was one of at least 40 that were stolen from the cemetery between Anzac Day and last Thursday.

Most of the plaques were for servicemen in a designated part of the cemetery. Metallic plaques have been taken from other graves in the cemetery.

Police said they have no leads and have asked for public help.

Mr Tweedy’s father Errol served in the Middle East in World War 2. He has been resting at the cemetery since 1998. Mr Tweedy’s mother Marion died in 1990 and is also buried there.

“Of all places they chose there. I just couldn’t believe it, I was blown away,” Mr Tweedy said.

The thefts have affected the Springston community, he said.

“To think somebody could do that, with no feeling when they were doing it. These guys fought for our country and some of them lost their lives.”

The district council – which manages the cemetery – believes it is the first time a theft of this nature has occurred in the district.

“Council is co-ordinating the replacement of the plaques with Veterans Affairs and that will be done at no cost to the families,” a district council spokesman said.

It is working to get in touch with all affected families.

Springs RSA president Ivan Norton – who served in the Korean War in the 1950s – said the community has been hit hard by the thefts.

“It definitely is an awful thing to happen. You don’t expect people to interfere with a cemetery like that,” he said.

“But I’m afraid that’s the sort of people we’ve got today,” Mr Norton said.

He said there was anger in the community following the thefts.

“There is no CCTV at the cemetery, or any other evidence, to enable us to identify who might be responsible,” the police spokeswoman said.

Mr Tweedy said he has little hope in finding the bronze plaques.

“Whether we need to look to CCTV cameras there now I don’t know. I wouldn’t have thought we got to that stage in this country to have CCTV cameras in the bloody cemetery.”

•If anyone has information about the missing plaques, phone police on 378 0160. If you have a relative with a missing plaque and haven’t heard from the district council, phone 347 2800 or email cemeteries@selwyn.govt.nz

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