A grieving daughter arrived back home from her mother’s funeral to find thieves had ripped up and stolen her entire garden path. Joanne Aston, 52, believes she may have been targeted deliberately by callous crooks who scanned newspaper obituary notices. Hundreds of pounds worth of York flagstones were taken from her pathway in Prestwich, Bury, as she read a eulogy to her mother Joyce Aston at the service in Boothstown, near Salford.
Mrs Aston died last month aged 84 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Her daughter Joanne said: “It was just the icing on the cake of a terrible few months. It’s sickening.”
Police have launched an investigation and are appealing for witnesses.
Joanne said neighbours told her they saw a man behaving suspiciously outside her home at 1.30pm on the day of her mother’s funeral - the exact time she was delivering a reading at the service.
She said: “I left the house at 8am and wasn’t back until 10pm because I organised the whole thing and wanted to give my mum a proper send-off.
There was a choir coming up from London and people who came all the way from Portugal, so there was a lot to take care of.
We arrived home and I was first at the gate. I could see that all of the flag stones had been taken.
It’s awful to think that we’ve been targeted in those circumstances. People have said that criminals are looking up obituaries so they can target empty homes when the funerals are on.
“I don’t know if that’s true but it’s really disturbing if so. We aren’t the only ones around here who have been victims.”
The flagstones taken are believed to be worth £250. Joanne added: “It’s disgusting. We’re trying to look at CCTV from the surrounding areas to see what we can find.
The timing of it is awful, as if the last few weeks haven’t been hard enough. I don’t know how these people live with themselves.”
Greater Manchester Police said: “Police received a report at 5.08pm on July 1 that paving stones had been stolen from a property on Simister Lane, Prestwich. No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing.”