This is the sickening moment a man was caught stealing flowers from a family grave after friends set up a hidden camera when tributes started disappearing.
Friends and relatives of Steve and Pat Russell – who are buried at the grave along with their two young daughters – noticed the flowers were going missing at the Eastern Cemetery in Hull.
They installed a hidden camera in a nearby tree to catch the perpetrator in the act and say the thief has been stealing from the grave every week for seven months.
Police have been informed of the the callous thief’s actions, although his motives and identity remain a mystery.
The shameless thief crouches down and steals flowers from a family grave at Eastern Cemetery in Hull
Friends and family are desperate to find out who the perpetrator is. They said the Russells ‘can’t rest in peace’ while he’s still at large
One of the daughters, Kerry, passed away at the age of 12 after collapsing at school 31 years ago with a heart condition.
Kirsty suffered from the same condition and died in 1996 at the age of 18.
Four years’ ago, Patricia died after suffering a heart attack and her husband passed away a year later.
They had their ashes scattered by a rose bush beside their daughters’ grave at the Hull cemetery.
Allan Hiley, 73, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, was ‘horrified’ when he was told by friends that someone was taking the flowers from their grave.
Kerry (left) died at the age of 12 and Kirsty (right) passed away aged 18 – both due to heart conditions
The ashes of Patricia and Steve Russell (pictured) were scattered alongside their daughters’ grave
He said: ‘It’s the grave of my auntie and uncle and their two daughters. I come over every now and again to visit the grave and friends who knew them.
‘They rang me up a while ago to tell me someone was taking the flowers and decorations. I was horrified.
‘The love that family had between them was incredible and the fact that someone could be doing that to their grave is a farce.
He looks around with the flowers in his hand to make sure he’s not been caught in the act
Friends and relatives say flowers have been going missing from the burial site every week for seven months
‘I was upset about it. They were a lovely family. They are not resting in peace because of this.’
Friends of the family became concerned back in April with the missing flowers and decided that it was time to figure out what was going on.
They placed a camera in a tree looking over the grave.
The perpetrator is filmed standing over the grave of Steve and Pat Russell and their two young daughters Kerry and Kirsty
One person, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘My wife and her friends all visit the grave every week or so to put down flowers and other decorative items to make the grave look nice.
‘We started to notice back in April that things were going missing and rang each other to figure out what was going on. Every so often we would go there and they were gone.
‘There are graves either side and around it that don’t get touched so this is personal. It’s just disgusting. Why would you do that to a grave? I can’t get my head around it.
‘Someone suggested to me to put a camera there to catch who was doing it. So I purchased one and hid it in a nearby tree.’
So far no one has recognised the thief, who is pictured lurking near the grave
On September 28 the camera had recorded footage of a man no one could recognise visiting the grave.
He can be seen standing in front of the plot with his bicycle before picking up a bunch of flowers and tipping the water on the ground.
Pictures taken by the camera also show the flowers missing from the grave two minutes after he arrived. The footage was reported to Humberside Police.
The same man was seen again visiting the grave on the evening of Friday, November 9, and shortly after his arrival the flowers were no longer there.
Hull City Council has confirmed that they would not have removed the flowers from the plot.