A distraught Father has taken to social media to send an urgent message to local residents after youths were suspected to have stolen decorative lights off his young daughter’s grave.
Michael Pounder was visiting his daughter’s resting place at Dukinfield Cemetery in Tameside last week on the day of the 12th anniversary since her passing when he found the grave in a state of disrepair and noticed that a number of the decorative lights were missing.
There was a total of 10 decorative lights placed around the grave at the time of their last visit and only four were left remaining upon their return.
Disgusted at the situation and after noticing that this wasn’t the only grave to have been tampered with, Michael issued an urgent plea to parents to be vigilant with their children and strongly state that “this has to stop”.
In a heartbreaking post to the Dukinfield Community Group on Facebook, accompanied by a video shot at the scene, Michael said: “This really is a post I cant believe I’m posting today. I have had to go and replace lights on my daughters grave as people think it’s ok to take them.”
“To all you kids out there doing this, [this is] a dead little girls resting place. I will never get to buy my daughter any gifts, this is all we can do.”
“You’re taking from a dead baby, hope you’re proud of yourself.”
“I’m asking all parents to please talk to your children. This is disgusting”.
The post and video understandably shocked the local community.
It went to amass hundreds of interactions from group members and has also seen Michael and family receive comments from others not only offering support and expressing disgust, but also sharing their own similar experiences of graves being tampered with at the same cemetery and other cemeteries across Greater Manchester.
Speaking to The Manc about the incident, Michael said: “We visited the grave as normal to put down new stones and tidy up our princess’ bed. We have had the odd problem of a light or two going missing over the years, but we were up there only last month and replaced all 10 of the lights.”
“As we approached her bed, her Mum’s face dropped [and] we couldn’t believe our eyes that six of her 10 lights had been taken”.
“[There was] also all types of rubbish all over [and] even foot marks in her stones.”
Michael also indicated that this was not an isolated incident and it is an experience they are familiar with.
He continued: “We are never able to buy our little girl gifts [or] toys, this is the only thing we have left and the only place we get to be close to her.”
“For someone to come and destroy what little things she has is totally outrageous.”
“We began to look around and could see that a lot of the little angel’s graves had been messed with… things knocked over [and] things missing – it’s a real sad affair.”
Michael confirmed that did go into the office at Dukinfield Cemetery to report the incident at the time, but stated that nobody was on site. He also revealed that when they have gone to report similar incidents in the past, they have been informed that it is best “not to put nice things on there” as a way to deter thieves.
Comments from other locals in the same position as Michael and family have echoed a similar response from the cemetery.
Michael is hoping that by speaking out on this matter, which affects so many, he can raise awareness and encourage people to simply “think before they act”.