Appeal for information following cemetery vandalism
A council has increased its patrols and is appealing for information following significant vandalism at a County Durham cemetery.
We are currently responding to an incident at Pelton Cemetery in Chester-le-Street, where at least 36 headstones have been damaged or knocked over.
Supporting affected families
We are assessing the extent of the damage and our bereavement services team is in the process of contacting the affected families.
Our clean and green team has begun temporarily reinstating and securing the headstones while conversations are ongoing with the families, and neighbourhood wardens will be carrying out increased patrols in the area.
We are also encouraging members of the public to report any information they may have to the police.
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact Durham Constabulary or report it anonymously through Crimestoppers online or by calling 0800 555 111.
Cllr Mark Wilkes, our Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: "This is a devastating incident affecting a number of families and we are appalled that anyone would seek to cause damage to headstones.
"We are supporting the families that have been affected and are in the process of contacting them about the reinstatement of the headstones. I would encourage anyone who has information about this incident to contact the police to help them identify who is responsible."
Lee Morris, neighbourhood inspector at Durham Constabulary, said: "We received a report of damage to several headstones from a member of the public in Cemetery House, Pelton Lane, on November 28. Enquiries are ongoing.
"Anyone with information should report it quoting incident reference 176 of November 28 via our Durham Constabulary Live Chat."