Councillor Roger Styring, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council says he is sorry for distress caused to affected families:
“We understand that this could be extremely upsetting for people affected by this and we’re sorry for the distress caused. We are making a commitment to all of the families involved that we will deal with these issues in an extremely sensitive manner.
We are putting support in place to ensure that anyone affected has full knowledge and any support and guidance that they need during the work.
We understand that this may cause upset and uncertainty for people with friends or relatives buried there and we are deeply sympathetic towards them during this difficult time.
We would like to reassure people that we are working with the greatest of care, respect and sensitivity, and our sympathies are with anyone who is involved.
The council is also reviewing all systems and procedures at the cemetery – and will be taking further actions which ensure that these types of inaccuracy do not occur in the future.
We anticipate that only a small number of people will be affected but a dedicated helpline has been set up for families who have any concerns.
– Councillor Roger Styring, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council
Thieves have stolen more than twenty Victorian grave markers from a Sunderland cemetery. The cast iron plaques were dug out on Wednesday night. 24 were taken from the cemetery in Grangetown. Police say it's the latest in a spate of metal thefts from around the region.
Neighbourhood Inspector John Connelly from Northumbria Police said 'We're working with scrap metal yards throughout the area and asking dealers to be extra vigilant.' Sunderland councillor James Blackburn described it as a 'despicable act.'