'WHO would do this?'

That is the question a shocked family is asking following an act of vandalism at Otley Cemetery.

Andrea Horner had gone with her mother, Kathleen, to tend the graves of her father, Neville, and her uncle on Wednesday, February 27.

The sight that greeted them left them in tears.

The wooden cross from Neville's grave had been broken at the base and thrown on the ground, while a nearby bench - in memory of both men - had been attacked by what is believed to have been a saw.

Andrea said: "I'd just gone down to visit my dad's grave with my mum and then came across all this. The cross was broken and down and the bench looks like someone's tried to saw it in half.

"It's been a big shock to us.

"I've told Leeds City Council but they've said there's not much they can do except log it.

"Unfortunately there are no cameras down there to see who's done it.

"My dad's plot is where my mum will be buried when her time comes, hopefully not for a long time yet. We haven't had a headstone up for that reason, just a cross with dad's details."

The family has been heartened by how the community has responded - and the kindness of local funeral director Richard Pickles, who has offered to provide a new cross.

Andrea, posting on the Otley - Our Town Facebook page where messages of support have been flooding in, said: "I'd like to say a massive thank you to everybody who has commented and offered their love and help.

"Also a massive thank you to Richard Pickles for being so kind and making my dad a new cross - there are some lovely people."

West Yorkshire Police think the vandalism occurred between Sunday, February 24 and Wednesday, February 27.

Inspector Andy Loftus, who heads neighbourhood policing in north-west Leeds, said: "This appears to have been a random act and we fully appreciate the impact that this mindless vandalism will have had on the family involved and the wider community.

"Officers from the local neighbourhood policing team are carrying out enquiries and have increased patrols of the area.

"We would like to hear from anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area over the period when the damage occurred, or who has any other information that could assist."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the North West Outer NPT by calling 101 and quoting crime reference 13190112058, or sending an e-mail to outernorthwest@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk. Information can also be given by calling the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon), meanwhile, said: "Once again somebody has desecrated one of our cemeteries. Resting places are areas for grieving, reflection and for honouring our dead and mindless idiots need to be caught and future occurrences stopped.

"I will continue to campaign for the council to introduce Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) across all of the city's cemeteries, graveyards and other resting places.

"That would help minimise inappropriate and antisocial behaviour like we saw at Yeadon cemetery last year, and give powers to reduce criminal damage and activity in our burial sites."