Volunteers at the Kyneton Cemetery have been left devastated after they were victims of break-ins twice over the Easter period.
A grave digger at the cemetery found the wire fence cut, doors to a shed smashed in and equipment stolen on Thursday morning. Four days later, a volunteer found the shed had been broken into again.
Kyneton Cemetery Trust chairman Lindsay Hinneberg said about $27,000 in equipment had been stolen in the two break-ins, leaving the volunteers with very little.
“All the equipment we’ve lost, it has consequences,” he said. “We’ve lost our ability to continue doing what we do as volunteers.”
The trust has five members and, along with one other volunteer, maintain the cemetery. Among the items stolen were a ride-on mower and a unique twin axle tilt trailer.
Mr Hinneberg said the trust had spent $500 repairing the damage from Thursday’s break-in only to have to turn around and do it again this week.
“At this stage we can’t feel confident to leave anything in our shed,” he said.
“It’s just a devastating blow. We’re just demoralised that someone could do this to a cemetery.”
The cemetery is two kilometres out of town with no houses nearby. Mr Hinneberg said it was the fourth time the cemetery had been broken into in three years.
Members are also in the process of applying for a state government grant to get power connected at the site enabling them to improve security. They are also hoping to secure funding for new toilets at the cemetery.
“Kyneton Cemetery Trust is an easy target for wicked people,” Mr Hinneberg said.
“We’re just devastated as volunteers that someone could do this at a sacred site where people have their loved ones buried.”
Detective Leading Senior Constable Wade Andrews from the Macedon Ranges Crime Investigation Unit said three people had been arrested and charged on Sunday morning in relation to Thursday’s break-in.
He said police were still investigating Monday’s break-in and anyone with information could contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
The trust is now calling on the public for help to maintain the cemetery.
Volunteers with ride-ons are needed to help mow the lawns, as is equipment such as brush-cutters and chainsaws.
“We would certainly appreciate any help we can be given,” Mr Hinneberg said.
Anyone looking to help can contact Mr Hinneberg on 0419 119 986.