A HEARTBROKEN mother is considering having her son's ashes exhumed from a churchyard in Bewdley following several thefts from the graveside.

The Bewdley mother, who asked not to be identified, has been left distraught after discovering another sentimental item left by loved ones had been taken from the graveside at St Leonard's churchyard in Ribbesford on Saturday - the 5th theft in recent months.

The family now fears they are being targeted, having heard no other reports of thefts from the site, and say they will be left with no choice than to have the ashes exhumed if the problem continues.

Relative Linda Hayden said: "This is the 5th time this has happened. My sister had left one of those big cylinder tin four-day burner candles next to the grave, then when she went back on Sunday, someone had taken it and dropped it in the path.

"Before that, we've had a fairly large stone car stolen, some penguin ornaments - my nephew had a real love for penguins - some cricket balls that were left there by some of his old teammates, some lanterns, flowers taken and dropped in the pathway.

"Why would anyone do this? These aren't valuable items, they won't mean anything to anyone else apart from to the family.

"The churchyard is very out of the way so it does make us wonder if we're being targeted, although there's no reason why we would be.

"That grave is my sister's sanctuary. He was her only son. Now she doesn't feel safe going there. She's seriously considering having the ashes exhumed, which would involve spending a lot of money.

"We just want whoever is doing this to stop."

The parish at St Leonard's said they were unaware of any recent thefts from the churchyard.

Archdeacon of Worcester, Robert Jones said: “We’re sorry to hear that items are going missing from a grave at St Leonard’s.

"Graveyards are public places open to all and sadly things do sometimes get stolen - there is very little we can do to prevent this.

"Unfortunately, this means that valuable and sentimental items by which loved ones are remembered are probably safest left at home.”