THIEVES stole a laptop from a crematorium while a funeral service was taking place.
They struck at Overdale Crematorium as assistant Paul Schofield — who controls the music for services and who had years’ worth of funeral music stored on the computer — left the room to take flowers off the coffin and outside to the grieving family.
The thieves also stole two mobile phones and later used the stolen Nokia 2012 to call Mr Schofield’s partner, Lynne Guest, to brag about the theft.
Mr Schofield, of Dobson Road, Bolton, said he was devastated that the Advent laptop was stolen because it contained five years’ worth of funeral music, along with personal family photographs and documents.
The 58-year-old crematorium assistant said: “I have worked at the crematorium for seven years and I have never known anything like this to happen before.
“We have had flowers stolen and that is bad enough, but to remove the music for the funeral is really low, especially while a funeral is going on.
“I think it is absolutely despicable and I want the person to feel really bad about what they have done.
“They used the phone to call my partner and they were bragging that they had taken the computer.
She said their speech was slurred.
“The computer was turned on when they took it and I was only out of the room for a minute while I took flowers outside. I am really devastated.”
The incident happened at 12.20pm on Friday. An iPhone 4, which was also stolen, belonged to the Rev Pat Brown, who conducted the service.
Mr Schofield said it was fortunate that there was a small back-up collection of funeral songs which can be used for forthcoming funerals.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Hitchen, of Bolton CID, said: “I am appalled that someone would take advantage and steal from a person providing an invaluable service to mourners at a time of immense grief.
“The fact that it could very well have been someone attending a service makes it all the more shocking and if anyone knows who is responsible, they must do the right thing and contact the police.”
Anyone with information should call 0161 872 5050.