HEARTLESS thugs have been causing damage at Barnsley Cemetery by trashing graves and stealing items in the run-up to Christmas.

Tony Batty, who runs Tony’s Barber Shop on Racecommon Road, told the Chronicle he was left ‘heartbroken’ after finding his mum’s grave trashed by ‘scum’.

It’s the latest in a long series of events at Barnsley’s cemeteries where vandals continue to cause damage in a place set up for residents to pay their respects to loved ones.

Tony said: “My nephew and dad went down to my mum’s resting place at the weekend and there’s a right mess - it’s disgusting.

“There’s been Christmas items placed on the graves - my mum’s is like a Christmas tree - and they’ve been taking them off and smashing them.

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“They’ve been kicking down the fences, too - it’s just heartbreaking.”

Tony said his dad goes down to the cemetery seven days a week for three hours each time to ensure the grave is well kept - but this was the last thing they were expecting.

“On my mum’s section alone they’ve tampered with and damaged around 20 graves,” he added.

“This is the last place you’d expect it to happen.

“They’ve kicked all of the children’s graves down as well - it’s just disgusting.

“For a parent or a loved one to go down there and see that it really is heartbreaking.”

It’s not just children causing the damage either, grown men have been seen late at night in the area ‘lighting up a meth pipe’.

“Because there’s a footpath going on to the site it’s accessible to everyone,” he said.

“Everyone can get on there but I can’t understand why people would want to walk through there anyway.

“The council say because it’s for the public they’re unable to shut it off.

“Someone went down on Saturday night at around 10pm and saw a man in his twenties lighting up a meth pipe - it’s not just youths doing the damage.”

Christmas is a time of year where the site will be at its most busy due to residents paying their respects - but they’re being met with damage at the worst place possible.

Tony added: “It’s a heartbreaking time of year.

“This is the last thing you need.

“They went down and found all the lanterns on my mum’s grave had been smashed.

“It’s just heartbreaking.”

The site has become a hotspot for despicable thugs in recent months, and just two months ago Lauren Dolman pleaded with them to leave the graves alone after her mum’s was tampered with for a third time.

Dan Saxon, who lives nearby to the cemetery, told the Chronicle: “It’s been going on for around six months.

“People have been stealing from graves for a long time.

“Me and my friend saw two people in the cemetery stealing on Saturday.

“We told them in a nice and polite way not to come back.

“I don’t think they’ll be returning any time soon - it should act as a deterrent.”