THEY were precious gifts from a grieving mum still trying to come to terms with the death of her first child.
Kate Rainscourt had been finding comfort in leaving toys and colourful flowers at the grave of her baby Charlie, who was stillborn less than a year ago.
But in the space of three weeks, thieves have struck twice at Holly Hill Cemetery in Sarisbury – removing a teddy bear, a plastic digger and colourful plastic flowers.
The theft has been described as “sickening” by one of Hampshire’s top politicians.
Police have already launched an investigation and want witnesses to come forward.
Kate has been left devastated by the crime – and wants to warn others that thieves may be operating in the area.
The 33-year-old, of Cornflower Close, Locks Heath, said: “We went to the grave three weeks ago and the teddy was missing. At first we thought an animal might have taken it away.
“But then we went back again and more items had gone.
“To the person who is doing this, I would say ‘Please stop and put the items back’. They are only simple things but that is not the point.
“We left a plastic digger there because we wanted him to have it like any other child might. Leaving it there was the only way to give our son a gift.”
Charlie was stillborn when Kate was just 26 weeks pregnant, in August last year. Since then she and husband Dan have made regular visits to the cemetery, in Barnes Lane.
Kate added: “It still feels like yesterday that we lost Charlie. He was our first child and to think that somebody would want to steal these things is horrible.”
Fareham Borough Council’s executive leader Sean Woodward said such incidents were rare at Holly Hill, which had proved such a well-loved cemetery that it was now full.
He added: “It just sounds one of the most sickening crimes. This is extremely unusual and an utterly pointless theft.”
A police spokesman said: “We will be investigating it and are appealing for anyone who might have seen or heard anything suspicious in the area to come forward and assist us with out enquiries.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.