A petition calling for more security at a children’s cemetery in Sunderland which was targeted by sick vandals has been started.
Families were left heartbroken after vandals struck in the baby garden at Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, in Chester Road, at the weekend.
Pictures have been shared on social media showing mementos including teddy bears scattered across plots and statues knocked over.
Northumbria Police said they were informed of the damage on Sunday night.
Now a petition on the change.org website is calling on authorities to increase security at the site.
It has already gathered 400 signatures.
The petition reads: “Bishopwearmouth Cemetery is where many of our lost loved ones are trying to rest in peace.
“My beloved sister is also resting in peace in the stillbirth children section of the cemetery which recently has been damaged by what I presume is what I like to call thugs.
“Other babies graves have been damaged as well.
“Wouldn’t you think parents and family members have already being through enough grieving for the loss of their baby?
“I would desperately like something to be done about this as it’s not the first time this has happened.
“More security and safeguarding patrols should be carried out to raise more of an awareness about things like this happening in our local community.
“Our children and lost loved ones can’t rest in peace until something is done about it.
“We want justice.”
Kati Bohill, secretary of the Friends of Bishopwearmouth Baby Garden group, said: “It’s horrible.
“It is not just the parents who are affected, it is their siblings, grandparents, aunties and uncles and godparents.
“To wilfully smash and damage things in such a sensitive area is completely heartless.
“It is just totally uncalled for. You can imagine the level of distress it has caused.”
Following the incident, neighbourhood sergeant Phil Baker said: “This mindless damage has caused unnecessary distress to the family of those involved who have not only suffered the tragic loss of a loved one but now the added worry and cost of restoring their resting place.
“I would like to extend my utmost condolences to the families who have been affected and let them know we will do all we can to find those responsible, and I would urge anyone who has any information to get in contact with us.
“Officers will be on patrol throughout the cemetery to help prevent any further offences and try to identify those involved.”
Anyone with information should contact Northumbria Police on 101, quoting reference 949 of 220517 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The petition can be viewed https://www.change.org/p/. northumbria-police-raise-awareness-and-improve-security-patrols-within-bishopwearmouth-cemetery.
A spokesman for Sunderland City Council said: “The council sympathises with everyone affected by this deplorable incident.
“Cemeteries are about providing a peaceful, respectful and restful environment. Any anti-social behaviour or vandalism is simply not acceptable.
“The council has been working with friends and families following this incident to help restore the area. Anyone with further information should contact the council or police immediately.”