A woman has been jailed for stealing memorial items left on graves in a Filey churchyard.
Karen Murray, 50, of Filey, appeared in court charged with the theft of gravestone ornaments, plant pots and artificial flowers between 1 June and 30 August last year.
From June 2018, North Yorkshire Police began to receive reports that small items of great sentimental value had gone missing from a number of gravesides at St Oswald’s Church, Filey.
Officers from Filey Neighbourhood Policing Team began an investigation, and patrols in the churchyard were stepped up, with officers and PCSOs checking the area, day and night.
Following information received from the community, officers arrested Murray in August 2018, and she was subsequently charged with 13 thefts. A number of items were recovered from Murray’s home, meaning North Yorkshire Police were able to reunite some of the victims with their property.
Murray was jailed for 20 weeks at Scarborough Magistrates Court on Tuesday 16 April.
Magistrates told Murray the offences were so serious because she had “returned time and time again”.
She was told: “The court has heard and read the victim personal statements describing the impact of your offending on them. There has been very significant additional harm caused to the victims, highly personal items taken which cannot be replaced.
“The victims felt violated, and felt despair that they were personally targeted. There was a lack of respect shown. You have shown no remorse and no victim empathy and you continue to abdicate responsibility. A community order cannot be justified and could not provide sufficient restriction on your liberty.”
PC Mark Walton, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “The victims of these crimes have taken great courage to come forward to the police, having to re-live the loss of their loved-ones.
“Now, those victims have received the result they have been waiting for, and the courts have clearly seen the impact that these crimes have had.”