A FAMILY has been left distraught after a hole was dug next to the grave of a much loved mother and father in what could have been an attempt to steal jewellery and other valuables from a secure casket.

Staff at the cemetery on Tredworth Road reported the discovery of a 4ft deep hole that was roughly 3ft wide and 3ft long yesterday (Monday, September 2) after the family of Henry and Betty Brazil, who are buried at the site, found it.

The offenders had placed two recycling boxes upside down in the hole and laid earth across the top in an attempt to disguise their work.

The offence took place between 5pm on Sunday, September 1 and 9.45am on Monday, September 2.

While it is unknown if those responsible were trying to bury something or uncover something the family believe they could have been after jewellery and other valuables contained in the casket at the grave.

Fortunately no damage was done to the casket but the family is angry and distressed by the incident. They said that there are no valuables in the casket.

Henry and Betty Brazil's daughter Jenny Jones said: "This is very upsetting. It's like the dead can't rest anymore. It's not fair at all. All my brothers and sisters are distressed.

"There's someone at the grave pretty much every day at the moment to make sure this doesn't happen again but we can't keep that up forever. My message is please just let them rest."

The family said they are considering security measures at the grave and are urging anyone with information to come forward to police on 101, quoting incident 98 of September 2.

Information can also be given anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via crimestoppers-uk.org. In some cases Crimestoppers offer rewards of up to £1000 where information leads to a conviction.

The damage to the ground will cost the cemetery £100 to repair.