Thursday, 23 Mar 2023

Thief steals 'postbox to heaven' filled with letters to dead loved ones

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A thief was caught on CCTV stealing a ‘postbox to heaven’ filled with letters to lost loved ones.

Footage shows the offender grab the postbox from Hughes Funeral Directors in Cannock, Staffordshire, before running to a van waiting nearby.

The funeral directors set up the postbox so people could write to family and friends who had died.

Owner Kim Hughes, 38, was left ‘mortified’ when she watched the CCTV video.

Cameras at the family-run business captured the man pulling up at 9am yesterday in a silver van before snatching the postbox.

Kim posted the footage on Facebook, which has since prompted widespread condemnation from angry members of the public.

Mum-of-two Kim said: ‘Your heart sinks.

‘All he’d probably get opening that was a picture some children drew for their grandad.

‘It was clearly premeditated. He pulled up with his hood already up. The door swung over and the van reversed back.

‘He ran, scooped up the postbox and ran back to the van.

‘It’s gutting, because we were just trying to do something nice.’

The postbox, which was only introduced in December, is usually kept inside the office.

The decision was made to have the box installed outside to give grieving families the chance to send letters even when the office was closed.

Kim added: ‘It’s normally in our office but with Mother’s Day coming up we decided to put it outside.

‘Where it was located, we thought it was perfectly fine. To watch them take it was mortifying.

‘My own children use it so I completely understand it.

‘We purchased it out of our own money and it was meant to be a continued support for families.

‘If he had come to me asking for some money to buy his own postbox I would’ve thought about giving him some.

‘I don’t want revenge, I just want the box back for our families. I’d rather him steal our phones.’

She said families turned up yesterday to post letters in time for Mother’s Day only to find the postbox gone.

‘One woman said it was a really good idea as she found her daughter’s letters to her grandad under her bed now she had somewhere to send them,’ she added.

‘If he could just do the right thing now, bring it back and admit he took it, we can just move on.’

Kim says her postbox was not linked to similar ones being installed at crematoriums following the idea of nine-year-old Matilda Handy.

Matilda hit the headlines when she suggested ‘postboxes to heaven’ so she could send her late gran and granddad cards and letters in heaven.

Kim added: ‘We had the idea and then saw that a crematorium had done the same thing but it was quite far away.

‘I said it’s going to look like we copied them. As far as I’m aware, we’re the only funeral directors with a ‘postbox to heaven’.

‘We have had a family saying they will buy a new one for us. We contacted police who suggested social media might help with the appeal.

‘I’m praying, probably naively, that this one will turn up purely because it has some letters in it.

‘There are still some nice people out there though. We will replace it either way.’

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