PARENTS were left distraught after discovering their daughter’s graveside had been vandalised.
Paul Gilbert and Amanda Simpson’s daughter Ella was born at 24 weeks, but did not survive.
She was buried at Lancing and Sompting Cemetery and memorial gardens, off Upper Boundstone Lane, in February last year and her parents decided to plant a tree at the grave.
Paul, 40, said: “A friend gave us the plant which was like a mini weeping willow. We planted it in the ground about six inches deep with a metal pole, so there’s no way it would come out.
“When Amanda visited the grave on Sunday and saw the plant missing she was just distraught. It’s sickening that someone could damage a baby’s grave like that.”
The Lancing couple contacted Worthing and Adur council to see if a member of staff had removed the plant.
“They told us they would not remove such things, only if they were overgrown and blocking other graves,” added Paul.
Paul and Amanda plan to replace the plant with a new one.
A spokeswoman for Worthing and Adur council said: “It is very sad to hear about this kind of incident on a child’s grave. The parents reported it to us on Monday and we inspected it that same day.
“It appears that the plant was stolen from the grave side for the value of the tree alone as none of the ornaments attached to it were taken. We would advise anyone who spots anything major taken from their family grave to report it to the police.”