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article imageWoman caught on CCTV stealing flowers from school boy's grave

By JohnThomas Didymus     Dec 8, 2011 in Lifestyle
London - The family of a boy, a road accident victim, cultivated flowers at his grave for more than 30 years. But after they noticed that someone was regularly stealing flowers from the grave, a member of the family installed a motion-activated CCTV.
When Steve Rose, 37, reviewed the images he found that the thief was an elderly woman.
The images , according to Metro News, showed a woman at the Rippleside Cemetery, Barking, East London, putting potted plants by the grave into her bag. Rose released the images hoping that the woman would be recognized by someone. They have caused outrage as people are shocked at how anyone could so casually steal flowers given as tribute to the dead.
The Telegraph reports that Rose, a taxi driver, of Walthamstow, east London, said:
“I was only six when he died. My aunt, who died two years ago, never got over it. We have left signs asking them to stop stealing but that didn’t deter them. It’s just callous. Robert was a lovely lad and it was a terrible tragedy. Potted plants and baskets started to disappear on a regular basis. That’s why we installed the camera. I want this woman prosecuted for the terrible things she’s done."
He said further:
"It’s such a terrible thing to do, just shocking. It’s the last place we can go to remember my cousin and someone’s stealing from it. The plants don’t have much value, just a couple of quid each. If she wants them so much I’ll give her the money. Just stop stealing from a child’s grave."
The boy's aunt Kathleen Harris, 75, according to The Telegraph, said: “I’m devastated because we have cared for this grave for the last 30 years. I’m so angry. I want her to be named and shamed. She’s a horrible woman and evil.For her to come along and fill her boots like that is just wicked. What right has she got to steal from that grave?”
The boy in the grave is Robert Stringer who was 11 when he was run down by a car in Barking, 1980. His mother, evidently severely traumatized by the loss, continued visiting the grave with tributes of flowers until she died two years ago at 81. The other members of the family, including Rose, have looked after the grave since the old woman died.
When the family first noticed that someone was stealing from the grave they placed signs asking the thief to stop but the frequency of the pilfering only increased. Rose finally got permission of the cemetery to install a camera. The camera was installed in October. When the CCTV camera was first installed, the culprit could not be identified because the cameras were taking too few pictures. But when it was adjusted to take five shots every second whenever anyone appeared in its frame the thief was revealed, a woman who had appeared in earlier shots.
The woman had evidently taken flowers from other graves because the bag she carried was not empty. According to Rose, describing the images:
"She walks past the grave then comes back, bends down and looks behind her. You can then see her putting a basket with a red ribbon that had plants in it in her bag. Then she moves and takes a pink cyclamen."
Several other people with loved ones buried at the cemetery also said they had flowers missing. Someone said: "I have noticed flowers going from my mother’s grave but thought staff were removing them because they had died. Now I don’t know."
Police say they are looking for the woman in the images.
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