Published: 06:00, 29 May 2021
| Updated: 10:36, 29 May 2021
A retired police officer is urging callous thieves to return his mother’s ashes after they sneaked into his front garden and swiped her urn from his doorstep.
The thieves struck in Hunters Forstal Road, Herne Bay, in the early hours of Sunday morning, while homeowner Allan Clifford was fast asleep.
When the 63-year-old woke up, he discovered two ceramic flowerpots, which contained cordylines, either side of the entrance to his bungalow had been taken.
The Spires Academy technician says he was left feeling devastated when he realised his beloved mum’s ashes, which had been in a brown urn placed in one of the pots, were also missing.
“I was absolutely shocked,” he said. “I never heard a thing.
“Every time I’d look at it, it would bring back happy memories and put a smile on my face.
“I want the ashes back. It doesn’t matter about the plants – they were just a pleasant thing to look at.
"It’s something that’s been taken away that I’ll probably never see again. It’s devastating.”
Ethel Clifford died four years ago at the age of 86.
Most of her ashes were scattered near her home in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, while the remainder was given to Mr Clifford.
He decided to store them outside his front door as she enjoyed spending time in his front garden whenever she travelled to Broomfield to stay with her son.
But now, all that remains are two circles of soil where the planters once stood.
“Why would somebody do that?” he continued. “It’s crazy – it feels like a violation.
“I thought it was a safe place to keep them. We bought the house in 1980, and nothing like this has happened before.
“I know a lady in Mill Lane, which is about half a mile away, had about four pots stolen from outside her house recently.”
Mr Clifford says he called the police at about 11am, after seeing the pots had been stolen.
A spokesman for the force confirmed officers received a report of the theft that morning.
He added: “The thefts are believed to have taken place between midnight and the morning of Sunday, May 23.”
Anyone with information is urged to call police on 01843 222289, quoting 23-0596.