'Lowest of the low' thieves steal hearse
Thieves who stole a hearse while it was being loaded with flowers have been branded “the lowest of the low”.
The theft happened outside D & R Hay Funeral Directors in Spencer Road, Londonderry, as David Hay was preparing to take wreaths to the bereaved family of an elderly woman in the Donemana area.
His brother, Assembly speaker William Hay described it as a “very low stoop”.
The thieves jumped into the front seat of the Volvo estate while David’s back was turned and sped off. They left a trail of wreaths behind following the theft at 7.30pm on Sunday.
A taxi driver found one of the wreaths and brought it back to the funeral parlour.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, David Hay said: “I had loaded eight or nine wreaths into the car and went back to get one which had come in late from Australia.
“When I went back to the car, it was gone.
“They didn’t even bother to shut the tailgate and they must have seen the wreaths and knew what it was, that these wreaths would be going out to some family.
“I can’t understand how anyone could do that. I suppose that’s the way society is.
“The tailgate was open and the wreaths fell out everywhere. There was a wreath found up round Chapel Road which a taxi man brought back, and another one in Gobnascale.”
Mr Hay, who has worked as a funeral director since 1993, said he was hopeful someone saw the vehicle and will come forward with information.
“This funeral car would be used for all aspects of our business and it is very distinctive — I have never seen another one” he said adding: “We only have the one vehicle like that. We have other cars but we keep this vehicle for that purpose.
“We have been on the Spencer Road for eight years and I never thought something like this would happen.”
William Hay, Assembly speaker and DUP MLA for Foyle, branded those behind the theft as the lowest of the low.
He said: “This is pretty unusual. Whoever was responsible must have known this was a vehicle used for funerals. They have stooped very low here.
“It came as a total shock to my brother and it has added to the hurt of this grieving family.”
He added: “Hopefully the car can be found and the culprits are brought to justice.”
The PSNI confirmed they are investigating the theft.