Vandals caused damage to headstones in the East Ballina Cemetery.
Vandals caused damage to headstones in the East Ballina Cemetery.

Vandals target gravesites

A BALLINA woman is "sickened" by the actions of senseless vandals who targeted the East Ballina Cemetery where her two daughters are buried.

Annette Saurine went to visit the graves of her two daughters Maddy and Charley, who were both two years old when they died, on Sunday when she met with two other families at the cemetery looking at the damaged headstones and fragments of "a dozen" crucifixes strewn throughout the East Ballina Cemetery.

There were also ornaments smashed throughout the cemetery, Ms Saurine said.

Older headstones were pulled off their bases and thrown at other headstones, Ms Saurine said.

While Ms Saurine's daughters' graves, which are vibrantly decorated with pink and purple ornaments, escaped most of the vandals' wrath, a Christmas hat that was attached to Charley's headstone was stolen.

"Somebody had taken my daughter's Christmas hat and the toys were moved around. It made me feel sick," she said.

Ms Saurine laid her daughter Maddy to rest in 2005 and her daughter Charley in 2009.

The headstones of Ms Saurine's daughters feature photos of her late children.

"I don't want to go up there on Christmas Day and see my children's faces smashed," she said.

Ms Saurine said she also had the displeasure of picking up dog poo from beside her daughter's grave because people ignored the no-dogs rule in the cemetery grounds.

Ballina Shire Council manager of open spaces and reserves Jillian Pratten said the damage was minor but was still very distressing for families.

"We had an inspection (yesterday) morning and we are going to put bollards at the front of the cemetery so we can close the park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights," she said.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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