Monday, July 31, 2006

Monkey grave theft rattles town

The mysterious disappearance of an historic gravestone has left Littleborough folk scratching their heads.

The stone memorial to a pet monkey – a popular attraction which dates from the late 1800s – was snatched from Hare Hill Park late last Friday night.

The theft has baffled council staff and park volunteers.

Chris Flintoff, the council’s service manager for parks and countryside, has informed the police.

He said: "It is a real tragedy. I can’t understand why anyone would do such a thing. We have just got Green Flag status and somebody, somewhere has robbed Hare Hill of a piece of its history.

"The grave was a real attraction for the kids and a symbol of Littleborough’s heritage. There was rarely a time when there wasn’t any flowers placed there and we are very, very upset about it. If someone damages a bench we can repair it but this can’t be replaced."

It is believed the monkey was the pet of the Newall family – the first owners of Hare Hill House, who sold the park to Littleborough Urban District Council in 1901.

The two-foot-high stone dates from the late 1800s and is inscribed with the monkey’s name, Mephisto.

Story here.

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