The family of a pensioner killed 25 years ago after she was hit by a car have been dealt further heartache after her grave was driven into and smashed.
Theresa Lincoln, of South Hylton, died aged 70 in November 1992 when she was hit by a vehicle in Hylton Road in Sunderland.
She is buried alongside her husband Andrew and her mother Dolly Carroll in a plot at Bishopwearmouth Cemetery.
But her family have been shocked after they discovered the monument has been left in pieces after it was driven into.
They are now hoping to find those responsible.
Mrs Lincoln’s daughter Libby Robson, 69, has been too upset to visit the site since the damage was found last Wednesday.
Libby’s daughter and Mrs Lincoln’s grandaughter Angela Miller, 49, told the Echo: “We can’t believe this has happened.
“Even in death, she’s being hit by cars.
“We think it’s something with a trailer that has hit it and then drove off, because there are marks on the path next to the grave.
“It’s been totally smashed up and it’ll take a lot of sorting out.”
Mrs Lincoln’s son Bobby, 73, had tended to the grave the day before the headstone was found, while the family make regular visits to pay their respects.
Angela added that one of the things which hurts the family most is that no-one has made an attempt to contact them over the damage.
“If we got an apology from someone who said it was only an accident then we could understand, but we haven’t,” said Angela, a sales assistant at Milligans in Sunderland city centre.
“If they said sorry, then that would be fair enough.
“But for us as a family to come and find the grave like this, after we’ve kept it looking so beautiful for so long is horrible.
“My mam’s too upset to visit and so is my aunt June because this just brings everything back to us.” The family are also calling for cameras to be installed at the cemetery so people will be deterred from causing damage at the site.
“We’d like to petition for cameras to be put in because something needs to be done,” said Angela.
“We don’t want to let this lie.”
Councillor Michael Mordey, Portfolio Holder for City Services, Sunderland City Council, said: “This is an appalling incident, as cemeteries are peaceful, respectful and restful environments.
“Visitors should respect this and it should go without saying that drivers are at all times expected to drive with due care and attention.
“The council is working with the police and the friends and families on this matter, I would urge anyone with further information to contact the council or police immediately.
“We are working with the police to determine the nature of this incident before we can take further action.”