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Theft of concrete bench from St James's Church in Bicknor leaves church warden Liz Yardley devastated

By Hayley Robinson

A church warden has been left devastated by the theft of a bench from a graveyard by people she has labelled "scum of the earth".

The concrete seat, which had two elephants as the pedestal, was taken from the grounds of St James's Church in Church Lane, Bicknor.

Liz Yardley discovered it was missing when she and a group of volunteers carried out a clean-up on Saturday morning. It happened sometime overnight July 11-12.

Liz Yardley says those responsible for taking her late mother's bench are the 'scum of the earth'

It is of great sentimental value to Ms Yardley, of Bicknor Lane, Bicknor, as it was bought by her late mother Ellen Yardley before she died in March 2009 aged 89.

She said: "The bottom plinth with a plaque on it is still there. It says 'rest here a while and feel the peace'.

"Mum visited the church often but there was no where to sit. Because she was elderly she was determined to put something there for other people to sit on and enjoy the peace and quiet of the church which is in the middle of the Kent countryside. There are no houses around it.

The bench stolen from the graveyard at St James's Church in Bicknor was similar to the one pictured

"It only cost about £200 but it's more the 'how dare they' and the fact that nothing is sacred any more. There was a little plaque attached to it about mum.

"I don't know what I would say to those who took it but they are the scum of the earth if they can go into sanctified grounds where everything should be safe and protected and steal something that means so much to a family.

"You can see when she passed. It's not ancient. It's been there five years. They must know how heartbroken we'd be. It's the lowest of the low.

"All they're worried about is the few pennies they will get at a boot fair. Someone may have bought it not knowing it was stolen. If they did we’d love to hear from them."

Kent Police confirmed they are investigating the theft. Anyone with any information, is asked to phone police on 101.

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