Police have been forced to increase patrols around a Moray cemetery after grieving relatives complained about flowers being stolen and graveside mementos being vandalised.
Last week, the family of 10-year-old Jayden Ravello spoke of their “utter heartbreak” when they found his resting place at New Elgin Cemetery had been “trashed”.
The incident took place on the same day they donated equipment worth £3,800 to Dr Gray’s Hospital in tribute to the youngster.
Yesterday, it emerged that other families had since told police that thieves had recently removed flowers and plants left at burial plots in the same cemetery.
The force has now confirmed it will patrol the area in question more frequently in the hopes of preventing further incidents.
Constable Michelle MacDonald said: “Increased patrols are being carried out in the area and we would ask that anyone who may have information in relation to these incidents speaks to any officer or gets in touch with police.
“We are continuing to work with our partners and the community to address these harrowing crimes.”
Jayden Ravello’s mum, Michelle Ravello, visited the youngster’s grave on Thursday to lay some ornaments there.
The following day, the 31-year-old returned to the spot to find that the trinkets had been “trashed” and called the police.
Jayden died suddenly in his sleep in October 2016, and his grave had also been targeted by thieves last summer, who took a quirky gnome ornament which was rich in sentimental value.
In recent days, two more people have reported thefts from the cemetery, with primroses and other plants being taken from different plots between 11am last Tuesday and 4.30pm on Sunday.
Elgin City South councillor, John Divers, said the graveyard had been blighted by anti-social behaviour for more than a decade.
He said: “You do have to wonder about the mindset of the individuals responsible for this.
“That cemetery has been a concern for years.
“We have had lights put in to discourage vandalism, but problems seem to be continuing.
“Hopefully these increased police patrols will serve as a deterrent.”
Anyone with information about the crimes should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.