Family’s fury as heartless thieves steal sentimental items from late Sunderland great-grandmother’s garden

Eric Wilkinson has hit out at thieves who targeted his family at such a low moment.

Eric Wilkinson has hit out at thieves who targeted his family at such a low moment.

A grieving family has been left furious after sentimental items belonging to a late great-grandmother were stolen – before her funeral had even taken place.

Heartless thieves took two stone sculptures from the garden of Mary Wilkinson, 85, of Beckwith Road, Sunderland, who died earlier this month.

Eric Wilkinson has hit out at thieves who targeted his family at such a low moment.

Eric Wilkinson has hit out at thieves who targeted his family at such a low moment.

The ornaments, which were of cocker spaniels, were much-loved by Mary, and among the items son Eric was planning to keep.

Police are now appealing for information after they were stolen from Mary’s garden over the weekend.

Eric said: “She was really proud of those garden ornaments, even though they were only stone sculptures of animals.

“They had been there for about eight years, and as soon as she died, some sort of scum went in and removed them.

I think it was someone who knew my mam had died and thought they would be an opportunist

Eric Wilkinson

“Those two ornaments were the only ones I wanted to keep, because my mam was so attached to them.

“If someone has bought them, I want them to realise they are buying from the dead. I feel so, so angry about it.”

Mary was a mother to Eric and also a grandmother-of-three and great-grandmother-of-one.

The family had spent the weekend sorting out her belongings, many of which have been given to charity shops.

Mary Wilkinson

Mary Wilkinson

Mary herself worked in a Houghton charity shop for 16 years.

The stolen items were not particularly expensive, according to Eric, but he has hit out at thieves who struck while the family are grieving.

He added: “They weren’t all that expensive, maybe £20 or £30. That’s not the point.

“The point is that they’ve decided to prey on us at a time like this.

“They’re the lowest of the low.

“I would have been furious if this had happened while my mam was still alive, let alone now.

“I think it was someone who knew my mam had died and thought they would be an opportunist.”

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “Police are carrying out enquiries after two concrete sculptures were stolen from a garden in Beckwith Close in Houghton.

“The theft happened between 2pm on Saturday, October 15, and 8.45am on Sunday, October 16.

“Anyone with information should contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 494 161016, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”