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Man left with stab wounds following cemetery robbery

Police are appealing for information after a man was left with two puncture wounds following a robbery in Eston Cemetery.

The 28-year-old victim used the cash machine at Tesco on Normanby Road before heading into Eston Cemetery at around 10pm on Wednesday May 7.

He was approached by two men, one who grabbed him from behind while a second hit him a number of times in the stomach.

He was robbed of £350 in cash, a cash card and an iPhone 4.

He was taken to James Cook University Hospital with two minor puncture wounds to his stomach and he was released yesterday (May 8).

One of the men is described as a white male, around 5ft 7”- 5ft 8” tall.

He was wearing a dark coloured baggy hooded top.

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Staff members dismissed over errors at Berwick cemeteries

Two members of staff were dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct following the investigation into two cemeteries in Berwick.

Northumberland County Council say they suspected problems at Berwick North Road and Tweedmouth Cemeteries in 2009.

They took over management of both cemeteries from Berwick Borough Council.

When officers identified irregularities at the cemetery two members of staff were suspended and a full internal investigation carried out. They were later dismissed.

Northumberland County Council say they have addressed staffing issues and identified a range of issues that are still being corrected.

Council "sorry for distress caused" over errors at Berwick cemeteries

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

Bodies could have been buried in wrong graves in Berwick

An investigation has found bodies could have been buried in the wrong graves at two cemeteries in Berwick.

The independent investigation found that records for a number of burials had been incorrectly completed at Berwick North Road and Tweedmouth cemeteries, and around 30 families may be affected.

It has been discovered that over a number of years prior to 2009, records have not always been well kept, and there had been little supervision of procedures at the cemeteries.

Some important information is missing from the records for the cemeteries and some have not been kept correctly.

The errors could also mean that that the wrong memorial is on the grave, that the deeds have been issued incorrectly or that an unregistered burial has taken place.

A dedicated helpline has been set up for families who have any concerns on 08444 632330 (or 0203 4170270 for anyone outside the UK).

Cemetery thefts

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.'

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