Family distraught after metal thieves target grave
THE family of a war veteran have been left distraught after metal thieves stole the memorial plaque from his grave in Beckenham.
In total 80 bronze plaques have been stolen from Beckenham Crematorium and Cemetery during a spate of thefts throughout September.
Janet Tucker, 58, of Penderry Rise, Catford, was horrified when she discovered the plaque on her father's grave was gone.
She said: "I feel very upset, I can't believe it. To steal from the dead is the lowest of the low. These people just don't have any values.
"It's gut-wrenching. It really beggars belief. You can't quite take it in.
"My father fought in the Second World War. He'd be horrified. He's better off where he is than with people like that around.
"My 85-year-old mum was crying for most of the afternoon when I told her. It was a personal effect."
Sidney Oswald Hoggan, who was born in 1921, was 81 when he died.
After serving in the army during the Second World War he worked for a tie making company as a tie cutter, and once made the tie for the Welsh rugby union team.
Dignity Funerals who own the cemetery are now replacing all the plaques free of charge, although this could take up to 12 weeks.
A spokesman said: "We want to replace all of the plaques at no cost to the families because we think it is an appalling crime.
"We appreciate the emotional impact this may have on the families concerned and don't want them to have to suffer financially because of these criminals.
The thefts are currently the subject of a police investigation.
A spokesman for Bromley Police said: "We have assisted the crematorium with crime prevention advice, are examining CCTV from the area and have been visiting scrap metal dealers in the area to alert them to the possibility that they may be offered the plaques.
"We have also undertaken forensic examination of the scene and there is an ongoing investigation.
"These thefts are particularly despicable and insensitive and we are taking them very seriously.”