Anger as serial flower thieves target grave in Coleraine
A Coleraine woman has hit out at "heartless" thieves who repeatedly steal flowers she leaves on the grave of her beloved mother.
Joyce Sharkey (69) says bunches of her mum's favourite yellow roses have been pinched on four separate occasions in the last few weeks at Coleraine Cemetery.
"These thieves really are the lowest of the low," she said.
"I don't know why they're doing it, but I have looked around other graves and I haven't seen the flowers anywhere else.
"So I reckon the thieves must be taking the flowers home.
"Workers at the cemetery have told me they will keep an eye on the grave but there's little chance of them catching anyone."
Joyce is a regular visitor to the plot of her mother Mary Maguire, who died in 2009. She said: "Mum really loved yellow roses but they always disappear within hours of me putting them on her grave."
Last month the roses, which usually cost £15 a time, were taken on Mrs Maguire's birthday on St Valentine's Day - and 10 days later another bunch vanished.
"I replaced them with another bunch of roses but they were also stolen," says Joyce, who took carnations and tulips to the cemetery on Mother's Day.
"I didn't want the flowers to be stolen on such a special occasion.
"And sure enough, the tulips and carnations were left alone.
"But I'm saddened that I won't be able to leave my mum's favourite roses on her grave any more."
She needs relatives to go with her to the cemetery because she requires help to place the flowers on the grave where her 82-year-old mother is buried alongside her 79-year-old husband Jim, who died in 2007.
She added: "I have a muscle wasting weakness which means I can't get down to put the flowers on the grave myself."
Joyce, who has a daughter and two grandchildren, says she hasn't reported any of the thefts to the police.
"What would be the point?" she said. "Sure they've hardly got the time to do all the calls they have on their books.
"But it makes me sick to the stomach to think there are people out there who would rob flowers from a grave."