Leeds cemetery yobs cause damage

Joyriders left a trail of destruction when they drove a stolen van into a historic cemetery which is being blighted by vandalism.

An entrance gate to Lawnswood Cemetery was damaged by vandals who drove into the site in a stolen Leeds City Council van.

Days later, a disused office was broken into and vandalised at the Otley Road cemetery, where books of remembrance were slashed in a previous incident in April.

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The joyriding incident happened over the weekend of August 18-19 and the office damage overnight on August 21. A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, in the last week a variety of mindless anti-social activity has taken place at Lawnswood Cemetery.

“This has resulted in significant damage to an entrance gate and vandalism to a disused office located on the site.

“A Leeds City Council vehicle was also stolen, which has now been recovered and was also damaged. We are currently working with the police and partners to identify those responsible for these incidents and to also strengthen security at the site. Steps are also being taken to assess what can be done on a long-term basis to stop these type of incidents occurring again in the future.”

The April incident saw books of remembrance containing personal messages from bereaved families slashed and scattered in a break-in at the cemetery over the Easter weekend. The Friends of Lawnswood Cemetery said in a statement: “This is not only wanton vandalism, it shows such disrespect for the cemetery and all it means to the people of Leeds and beyond who have relatives and friends buried, cremated or remembered there.”