Two Liverpool sisters who stole funeral wreaths to sell on for profit have been warned they could face jail. Marion Hill and Lyndsay Millett admitted taking tributes which had been left by family members at the funeral of an Anfield pensioner, after CCTV showed them in the act. The sisters had claimed they were taking the flowers from Springwood crematorium to put on their mum’s grave at nearby Allerton cemetery. But police who searched chef Hill’s home in Almeda Road, Speke found it was packed with blank condolence cards, wreath stands and what Liverpool magistrates were told was “wreath-making paraphernalia.”
They also discovered seven wreaths, including one bearing the word ‘DAD’, and a Winnie the Pooh photo album packed with various pictures of floral tribute arrangements was found. Among the haul were two wreaths, forming the words ‘MUM’ and ‘NAN’, which had been taken from outside the crematorium on the evening of May 7. Both tributes had been left by mourners at the funeral earlier that day of Bridget Jannet. Mrs Jannet’s son Chris, who attended yesterday’s hearing, said he had been devastated when he discovered the two wreaths, covered in blue and white flowers, as well as a bunch of roses, had gone. Mr Jannet, from Anfield, added: “This incident has left me shocked to the core to think somebody could commit such a callous act.”
Andrew Hodgson, prosecuting, told magistrates it was clear from the evidence police had found at the home of Hill, 41, that she was running a “commercial venture”. The court was told that when Hill was initially arrested, she told police “I’m admitting it.” Later she and sister Millett, 37, of Critchley Road, Speke, maintained the flowers were intended to go on their late mother’s grave. CCTV showed the pair arriving at the crematorium in a black Land Rover which had been hired by grandmother Hill, who was seen to run out, pick up the wreaths and stashed them in the back. She told the court she had hired the car for two days as a ‘pick-me-up’ after working long hours.
Mr Hodgson said: “What about if you hired it for picking things up, going round crematoria and cemeteries and picking things up and putting them in the back?” The court was told the two wreaths stolen had cost £90 each. Mr Hodgson said: “A reasonable sum of money can be made in this business, particularly if you are stealing the items that you are selling on.” Leanne Kennedy, defending, said the sisters claimed many of the items used for making wreaths had been left to them by their aunt, who the court was told had been keen on art. Chair of the magistrates Dennis Brant said the prosecution case was “overwhelming.” He said all sentencing options, including jail, were open. They were granted unconditional bail, and the case was adjourned until October 30.