A CAR stolen when a Morpeth widow was tending to her husband’s grave has been recovered.
But Margaret Waterston is appealing for the return of her handbag, which is still missing, as it contains a priceless family photograph.
The 76-year-old’s silver Vauxhall Corsa was parked on the path at Fairmoor Cemetery just six feet away from the grave of her late husband Robert, who was a self-employed painter and decorator, on Monday, July 15.
She was in the middle of cleaning the headstone and clearing the area around it when a man ran over to the car and drove away.
The vehicle was recovered on Saturday next to St Mary’s Church in Stannington.
Mrs Waterston said: “I parked the car on the path as Robert’s grave is the first in the row.
“I was just six feet away and I had the driver’s door open because it was a hot day.
“I left the keys in the ignition as I thought I was more likely to lose them if they were in the grass.
“The thief must have waited until I got down on my hands and knees to wash the headstone and pull out one or two weeds.
“He came out of nowhere and drove away with the door and boot still open.
“I couldn’t believe it and what’s worse is that my handbag was in the car.”
She added: “As well as some shopping and my bus pass, it contains a photo of my brother, George Boiston, who died in a car accident 40 years ago.
“I hope that the bag will be handed in to the police so I can get this priceless photo back.”
The Kirkhill resident had to run a quarter-of-a-mile to one of the houses near the cemetery to call for assistance and ring the police following the theft.
Mrs Waterston said: “It’s unbelievable that someone would do such a thing and I could do without a shock like this at my time of life.
“But the scumbag won’t frighten me off from going back to the grave by myself as soon as the opportunity arises.”
Anyone with information about the offence is asked to contact police officers in Morpeth on 101, quoting reference 040008R/13.