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Appeal to locate gravestone ‘stolen’ from Northam churchyard

PUBLISHED: 09:58 08 August 2014 | UPDATED: 09:59 08 August 2014

The missing stone.

The missing stone.

Archant

Police: “If whoever took it does return it, we may stop looking for you.”

The grave minus the missing stone.The grave minus the missing stone.

THE daughter of a man whose name was on a gravestone stolen from St Margaret’s Church in Northam is appealing for thieves to return it.

Gaye Black, who lives in West London, discovered the stone featuring the names ‘Ronald George Balson’ and ‘Alice Winifred Joyce Balsdon’ had vanished.

Police suspect thieves stole the black headstone some time in the last six weeks.

Ms Black said: “We don’t know when it was taken exactly but my cousin last visited the grave six weeks ago and it was there.

“It was a bit of a shock to think anyone would do that.”

Mr Balson was a former editor of the Bideford Gazette, having worked on the paper from the age of 14 until ill health took over.

Police are currently carrying out investigations to locate the missing slab.

PC Dick Rowlands said: “We suspect it has been stolen by someone in the nice summer heat, who decided it could be used as a garden table or bench.

“We’re asking anyone who has seen a new slab such as this appear in someone’s garden to contact us.

“We would also like whoever took it to know that if they do return it to its rightful place, we may stop looking for you.”

Anyone who has any information is asked to call police on non-emergency number 101 quoting crime reference CR/096276/14 or alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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