GRAVEYARD PARTY SHOCK: Vandals' wild act of disrespect
FAMILIES are distressed at the disrespect shown to relatives' final resting place after a party took place at the Warwick Cemetery at the weekend.
Residents rushed out to the cemetery to check on their loved ones after a social media post warned the community of the theft and vandalism that occurred.
Warwick mother Jenny Thornton was at the cemetery until dusk on Sunday night cleaning up mess and retrieving objects that were stolen from the grave site of her husband Danny, who passed away in 2016.
"When we went out there we found people had taken all the flowers and ornaments off other people's graves," Mrs Thornton said.
"All Danny's pretty solar lights were broken and they had moved a pot of flowers and some rocks that we had put on his grave."
Decorations had been stolen from all the surrounding graves and placed in a big pile over two graves in the same section of the cemetery.
Mrs Thornton said she found beer bottles and football match tickets in the bins when retrieving flowers.
"It looks as if someone has had a bit of a party out there," she said.
"I'd say they weren't trying to smash everything up, they were just a bit full and thought they were being funny."
But the act was far from a joke to the families whose loved ones were disrespected by the mischief.
Mrs Thornton said it was an unpleasant experience for her sons, who helped restore their father's grave to its former state.
"I suppose you feel that they disrespected Danny's resting place," she said.
"It's distressing and disappointing that people would be thoughtless like that to other people's loved ones."
The Warwick Police and Southern Downs Regional Council are aware of the vandalism.
Senior Constable Jeremy Lambert said police would be increasing night patrols of the cemetery area.
Southern Downs Regional Council Cemeteries Team Leader, Mark McGowan said the council was taking the reports of vandalism very seriously.
"In the 20 years that I have been involved in the cemeteries, there have been very few reports of damage of vandalism. This is extremely unusual and out of character for our Southern Downs communities," he said.
Council staff have inspected and tidied the cemetery area and relatives have visited the site to reposition flowers and objects.
But residents on social media have called for further measures to ensure something like this doesn't happen again.
Warwick resident Delia Challis said people stole flowers from the cemetery to give as Valentines Day gifts.
"The cemetery should have CCTV cameras in each corner," she said.