'˜Stone the crows' birdsblamed for stealing stones at Craigyhill cemetery

Crows have been blamed for the theft of polished stones from graves at Larne's biggest cemetery at Upper Caincastle Road in Craigyhill.

The remainder of the polished stones on the Tyrrell grave in Craigyhill cemetery.

Larne man Alex Tyrell reported that almost £300 worth of polished black stones have disappeared from his mother’s grave.

It appears that other mourners have also had the same unfortunate experience.

Shiny stones, which have been placed on graves, are said to have been found almost a mile away.

Some observers are convinced that crows have been responsible for removing decorative stones while others are not so sure.

Mr. Tyrrell stated that five bags of decorative stones placed on the grave following his mother’s death last August have now mostly vanished.

He said he believes that they have been stolen.

“Whilst I could understand a few stones being taken by the odd crow or magpie, the crow in question managed to make off with about five bags of stones whilst leaving other graves in the area untouched.

“I would suggest therefore that this crow was rather large and was using a shovel and a wheelbarrow.”

However, comments on social media have suggested that winged thieves may have been to blame.

One man claimed that he has found polished stones, mainly black and blue, scattered in the area and in Whinfield, just under a mile away, as the crow flies.

One mourner indicated that she has witnessed birds lifting shiny black stones off her husband’s grave.

A number of families have since decided to take the precaution of replacing them with a matt variety.

A spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said: “Crows have previously been suspected of removing polished stones from cemeteries in Northern Ireland and throughout the UK.

“There are a number of theories as to why they may do this, including to use the stones or pebbles for nesting.

“Tips to counteract this include using unpolished stones on graves.”