‘Respect the dead’ police to up patrols following antisocial behaviour around Ottery cemetery and churchyard

Jeff Abbott in Ottery Cemetery. Ref sho 22 18TI 4973. Picture: Terry Ife

Jeff Abbott in Ottery Cemetery. Ref sho 22 18TI 4973. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

‘Disrespectful’ youngsters have been slammed for their behaviour, turning a place of peace into a hangout - leaving glass and rubbish strewn across an Ottery graveyard.

Jeff Abbott was visiting his parents’ grave at the town’s cemetery in Ridgeway last week and was left feeling shocked and distressed after he discovered a large group of teenagers hanging around, making a racket and banging bins.

When he returned the next day he found broken glass, used balloons and other items strewn across the grass.

Mr Abbott has urged the youngsters to have more respect for the dead. He said: “I was visiting my parents’ grave, which is never a nice experience, but on this occasion it was made worse by the complete lack of respect that I witnessed coming from a group of 14- to 16-year-olds who have decided to hang out up there now. It is disrespectful. I spoke to them and said there are other places you can hang out.

“Do these individuals really think that a place of peace deserves this type of disrespect?

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“It makes me incredibly sad that these youths have not been taught to respect our dead better.

“It’s more about nipping it [antisocial behaviour] in the bud. I found it distressing and I do not get distressed easily. You could have a grieving widow trying to visit their husband and why should they have to put up with youngsters making a mess and getting drunk in a place of peace?”

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PCSO Jonathan Sims said officers would not tolerate any antisocial behaviour anywhere in the town – particularly the churchyard and cemetery and vowed to step up patrols, moving on and dealing with any groups or individuals committing antisocial behaviour.

The officer said: “We still continue to have little spates of antisocial behaviour in the town. We won’t tolerate any antisocial behaviour anywhere in the town. It is totally unacceptable.

“Young people in particular need to realise these particular places are where people want to go and be quiet and put flowers on graves and be respectful.

“To the parents and the young persons involved, please take more responsibility for what they and you are doing and treat this area of the town with more respect.”

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