Vandals desecrated a cemetery in Waipā, rolling over a grave and leaving skid marks on the manicured lawns.
Large chunks of dirt and tire marks scarred in the grass left Hautapu Cemetery near Cambridge in ruins.
Waipā District Council sexton Dean Signal, who looks after the cemetery grounds, said the damage was “heartbreaking”.
He was at the cemetery most days and said he took care of the graves as if they were his own family.
* Spike of ‘anti-social conduct’ in Waipā prompts regulation on street racers
* The flood sinks the burial grounds of the cemetery of Manukau
* “It’s not lit”: questions about rabbit damage to graves
It was important that the cemetery be maintained because “it’s a whole community that comes here to see their loved ones”.
None of the headstones had been damaged, but it would take some time for the ground to be restored and the grass to grow back.
Mayor Jim Mylchreest agreed and said the destruction was “absolutely atrocious” and “diabolical”.
“I think these idiots are the scum of the earth.”
He said the damage was disrespectful and would take a lot of time and money to repair.
Mylchreest urged anyone seeing anything to contact the police.
“The police can’t be everywhere all the time – we need the community to support them and the council.”
The cemetery was open at night at the request of the community, but he said if vandalism continued the council may have to restrict access.
“It’s not something we want to do, but we might have to. One way or another, we have to eradicate this.
Waipā District Council Community Services Manager Brad Ward said the offenders drove into the main entrance to the cemetery on Monday night and to the back of the grounds before doing damage.
He said the location was probably not chosen at random, which was “sickening”.
The damage is behind the RSA section of the graveyard. The organization had been notified along with the families of the affected graves, Ward said.
Members of a family who recently buried a loved one were in tears when they discovered it, Ward said.
He said people have been known to burn out on rural reserves in the district, but never before in a cemetery.
A police spokesperson confirmed that police received a report on Tuesday morning of a car doing burnouts and skids at the cemetery, damaging the grass.