A Chichester mum-of-four said her family was left heartbroken after someone stole a metal flower vase from the grave of loved ones.
Eleanor Withers, 31, said the vase was taken from her grandparents’ graves, which have been in a Singleton churchyard for more than three decades.
She said the shock discovery was ‘very upsetting’ for her father, Joseph Elliot.
“It is a sentimental thing. A lot of families who are not rich can’t afford to pay for the biggest of monuments.
“They can only afford what they can afford and these little things mean the world to you – it’s the last piece you have of your loved ones.
“To think my dad found these metal pieces missing is heartbreaking, that someone would do that and take it from the grave.”
Mr Elliot, who lives in Lavant, noticed the vase had gone when he visited his parents’ grave at The Blessed Virgin Mary church on Remembrance Day.
He also spotted other vases and their lids (where flowers can be placed through) had been taken from other graves.
He said: “I usually come to see my parents’ grave fortnightly with some flowers.
“When I saw the vase had gone I felt really upset. The grave has been here for 30 years.
“I wouldn’t have thought it was anything to do with metal thieves, because it can’t be worth that much.
“It is just not natural.”
Father Richard Woods at the church said he can’t imagine the metal vases or their casings being worth that much if sold on.
He said: “There is very little we can do about it. We have taken precautions about all of the metal that’s worth anything.
“But it is not about the value; it is about the distress this kind of thing causes. People have no conception of the pain it causes someone else.”
The church can be found off Grove Road at Church Lane. If you have noticed anything suspicious contact Sussex Police on the new non-emergency number 101 or talk to Father Woods.
He can be contacted on 01243 811213.