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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 October, 2004, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
Activists blamed for grave attack
Gladys Hammond
Gladys Hammond was buried in 1997
The family of an 82-year-old woman whose remains were stolen have blamed animal activists for the desecration.

Gladys Hammond's son-in-law Chris Hall breeds guinea pigs for medical research with his brother John at Darley Oaks Farm in Newchurch, east Staffordshire.

Animal activists have targeted them with hoax bombs, a paedophile smear campaign and arson attacks, police say.

John Hall said he was sure the removal of Mrs Hammond's body from a church in Yoxall was also the work of protesters.

I don't think anyone else would be so ghoulish as to go into a churchyard and desecrate a grave
John Hall
Mr Hall told BBC Radio 4 programme You and Yours: "We're horrified that they (animal rights protesters) could reach such a low in their campaign against us to have desecrated Gladys' grave.

"I think this goes a lot deeper than what most people would accept as any form of protest. It is really ghoulish.

"I don't think anyone else would be so ghoulish as to go into a churchyard under the cover of darkness and desecrate a grave."

He said a private security firm was patrolling the farm so his family "could sleep at night".

Mr Hall said campaign against them had continued for more than five years and added he hoped the incident would galvanise police.

Darley Oaks Farm

Staffordshire Police confirmed on Monday Mrs Hammond's remains were stolen from St Peter's Church in Yoxall, seven years after her burial, some time on 5 or 6 September.

They believe two people were involved and are investigating the possibility that they were animal activists.

But Insp Dave Bird denied officers have not effectively policed Darley Oaks Farm.

He said: "Since June 2003 there have been 31 arrests in connection with this protest and with the criminality that goes alongside it.

"There have been 18 convictions or cautions, and there are still five cases pending, so I don't think it's fair to say that Staffordshire Police are doing nothing."

Police say they are 'baffled' by the crime

Remains taken from damaged grave
11 Oct 04  |  Staffordshire
Police comb desecrated grave site
09 Oct 04  |  Staffordshire
Protest 'link' to desecrated grave
08 Oct 04  |  Staffordshire

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