THERE has been a spate of thefts from Tilla graveyard, Co. Clare, over the past few months and increasingly exasperated locals have urged perpetrators to stop.
Items stolen from the graves include toys, ornamental tributes, and flowers.
A grave recently targeted was that of 17-year-old Scarlett Donnellan who was laid to rest in the cemetery in 2018.
It is understood the thieves have targeted the grave several times.
Property stolen from the grave includes planted rose bushes that were dug up, as well as other personal effects that are very dear to Scarlett’s family, according to her mother Kirsty Donnellan.
"It's extremely distressing to bury your daughter, but for someone to disturb the grave and steal items from it is very upsetting," she said to RTE.
She went on to say that the local community has found the experience, that’s been ongoing for several months, very distressing.
The Parish Priest of Tulla, Fr Brendan Quinlivan, indicated to RTE that several other children’s graves had been targeted in the craven crime spree.
A total of twenty graves had been robbed, with items including toys, ornamental objects, flowers, and other personal effects being carted off by the criminals.
He implored whoever is responsible for the thefts to stop.
Security at the cemetery has been stepped up in recent weeks; the main gates have been locked and signs have been erected to warn trespassers that the premises are being monitored.
Clare County Council is liaising closely with An Garda Siochána and the local community to address the problem.