Published: 09:09, 09 April 2021
| Updated: 10:30, 09 April 2021
A lorry suspected to be involved in the theft of man's ashes during a warehouse raid in Maidstone was spotted on camera at the Dartford Crossing, it has emerged.
The ashes of Chris Humbles, 75, were taken from a distribution centre at Phoenix Park in Parkwood, along with a large quantity of parcels during the burglary in November.
The lorry suspected of being involved was seen heading into Essex from the Dartford Crossing shortly after.
It is believed the package could have been dumped in the south of the county.
Now four months on from issuing a heartfelt appeal for information to residents in Kent, Mr Humbles' widow, Diane Humbles is hoping anyone with connections to the neighbouring county could help.
Mrs Humbles, who was born in Folkestone, said: “I am absolutely heartbroken this has happened. I just want to get my husband’s ashes back so he can rest in peace. This has been a really distressing time for me and my family.”
Mr Humbles died unexpectedly in October after developing septicaemia.
Mrs Humbles had asked the funeral home that managed her husband’s cremation in Yorkshire, where she now lives, to arrange for the safe transfer of his ashes to Charing Crematorium near Ashford, so they could be scattered in the same place as relatives.
The funeral home had called on a specialist firm that manages the transport of ashes to arrange the delivery and had deposited the package, as instructed, at a collection point, from where the firm had commissioned Hermes to collect them.
During transit, they were taken to a warehouse at Phoenix Park. The parcel was stolen, along with other items and a van, during a break-in on the night of November 25.
Mr and Mrs Humbles had been married for 41 years with four children between them, along with eight grand-children and three great-grandchildren.
They lived in Higham for 24 years before retiring to Yorkshire eight years ago.
Phil Barr of George Steele and Son Funeral Directors in Ossett, which managed Mr Humbles’ funeral, said: “We recognise this is an extremely distressing time for the family and we are doing absolutely everything we can to help return Mr Humbles’ ashes.
“We are offering a cash reward for their safe return and ask anyone with information to come forward and assist the police investigation into the theft and the recovery of the stolen parcels."
Kent Police have arrested three people in connection with the burglary and the investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information should contact Kent Police on 01622 604 100, quoting the reference 46/210447/20.