1. ITV Report

Vandals drive stolen car through graveyard

Bereaved families in a small community in County Durham say they are 'heartbroken' and feel 'completely violated' after a stolen car drove through a cemetery, wrecking several gravestones.

Eight headstones were damaged as the car was driven across graves at the Meadowfield cemetery, including one of a six-year-old girl, buried a century ago.

Tyre tracks are visible throughout the cemetery grounds Credit: ITV News

Tyre tracks show the route of destruction, which at one point, shows the car became stuck over a headstone and left deep grooves in the earth.

There is extensive damage to eight headstones Credit: ITV News

The headstone of Catherine Ainsley's grandparents used to stand several feet tall, but has been pushed down into the ground.

The local community has rallied round in support, with a collection bucket passed round local shops and pubs to aid the cost of repairs.

In less than 48 hours, almost half of the £1,000 target was raised.

Durham County Council said they share the 'outrage of the community' and will assist in rebuilding and repairing the affected areas.

Oliver Sherratt, Head of Direct Services for Durham County Council said more must be done to ensure this doesn't happen again, including reviewing the options of locking the cemetery gates.

A police investigation continues as officers from Durham Constabulary try to establish who is responsible.

Council officials attended the scene this morning to inspect the area Credit: ITV News