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Crows blamed for ‘theft’ of stones at Omagh graveyard

Crow grave shutterstock_183048317

A local headstone maker believes crows have pilfered a grave in Omagh in recent weeks. (Shutterstock/Thomas Zsebok)

A POLICE investigation into the ‘theft’ of stones from a grave in Omagh may have to be reviewed after a local headstone maker suggested that crows were the culprits.

Last week a PSNI statement said police were “investigating” following a report that small marble grave stones had been stolen from a grave in the cemetery on Dublin Road, Omagh.

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The stones were removed between Saturday, October 31 and Saturday, November 7.

However Patsy Kerlin from Omagh, who mounts headstones and surrounds on graves, said there is “not a chance” they were stolen and lays the blame squarely at the crow’s feet.

A similar situation was reported in Strabane in 2012 and a number of eye witnesses came forward to report seeing masses of crows swooping down and lifting the egg shaped stones and flying off.  Strabane District Council then sent a photographer to the Head of the Town cemetery and he snapped the winged raiders pecking up stones from various graves before flying off.

Mr Kerlin said, “Two weeks ago I was alerted to stones going missing in the Omagh cemetery and saw crows sitting on a grave. I have seen them lift three stones at one time.

“It seems to be only the black shiny ones they take and a lot of them go missing. There is not a chance they were stolen. I am also aware that this has happened in other graveyards.”

STOPPING THE BIRDS

The best way to stop the birds pilfering the stones, according to Mr Kerlin, is to spray bleach or paraffin on them.

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He is adamant the ‘thieves’ have literally taken flight and added, “If the police go to Strabane they will probably see it happening there. I guarantee 100 per-cent that no-one is taking them.”

After being made aware of Mr Kerlin’s observations, the PSNI released another statement yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon which read, “Police received a report that decorative grave stones had been removed. We welcome all information from the public with regard to the circumstances.”

If anyone has information regarding the removal of the stones from the grave in Omagh they are asked to call the 101 number, quoting reference number 83271115. Alternatively information about crime can be passed via the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

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