THE heartbroken mother of a youngster who died aged just eight has blasted thieves - after they cruelly stole an ornament from her grave last weekend.

The grave of Stacey Louise Ogley - who died in 1993 - was decorated with a unique stone pumpkin carriage that her brother Stephen bought as a Christmas present.

Yet last Saturday, when Stacey’s mother Wendy went to do some voluntary work at Carlton Cemetery, the ornament had gone missing.

“My heart sank,” Wendy told the Chronicle.

“The day before I went up and the ornament was still there.

“I went back on Saturday because I cut the grass around all the graves, and it had gone.

“It would be bad enough for anyone’s grave, but for a child’s that’s lower than low.

“It’s been there since Christmas, so someone’s clearly seen it, taken a liking to it and decided to take it.

“Nowhere around here sells anything like that, my son had to get it made and collect it from Chesterfield.

“This isn’t the first incident we’ve had - we had a bench for her, but a few years ago it was completely destroyed with sledgehammers.

“I’ve had a new bench made and it’s in the neighbour’s garage, but I’m not sure if I’ll even take it down now.”

Wendy has been a dedicated volunteer at the graveyard for the past 30 years, tidying and keeping the area presentable in honour of her daughter.

However in the past few years, she’s noticed that things ‘keep getting worse’.

Although plagued by antisocial behaviour, the cemetery was the scene of a grave-digging incident in 2022.

Wayne Jocelyn, the man responsible, was jailed for 15 months as a result.

“I’ve been caring and looking after the cemetery since Stacey was buried there - it’s my way of dealing with the grief,” Wendy added.

“I’ve done lots of volunteering, generally it’s on my own but my son and family have started coming to help so it doesn’t take me nine hours to cut all the grass.

“But this is the last straw.

“There are people who use it as a car park - the council have put sign up about it, but some clearly don’t listen.

“Now we get groups of kids coming in to smoke - I don’t know what more we can do.

“My son’s ordered another ornament but it’ll take two weeks to arrive and it’s not cheap.

“He says he’s going to secure it down so no-one can take it - he knows how much this has broken my heart.”

Paul Castle, service director for environment and transport at the council, asked visitors to be vigilant and to report anything untoward.

“Unfortunately, there is a very small number of people that show little respect to our borough’s cemeteries.

“It is sad and quite unfortunate that anyone has to deal with a theft from a grave.

"We urge cemetery visitors to be vigilant and report any incidents to the police and the bereavement services team.

"Our enforcement team to carry out patrols."