Caught on camera: theft of tragic Kevin’s memorial bird

Jinty Clunie with her memorial garden dedicated to her son Kevin Loughton who passed away.  Picture; Greg Macvean

Jinty Clunie with her memorial garden dedicated to her son Kevin Loughton who passed away. Picture; Greg Macvean

A GRIEVING mum has been left heartbroken after thieves stole an ornamental heron from a memorial garden dedicated to her son.

Devastated Jinty Clunie spent more than £2000 filling the front lawn of her West Pilton home with poignant memories of Kevin Loughton after his tragic death last year.

A heron was stolen from the garden by a group of 3 girls on 18th February. Picture; Greg Macvean

A heron was stolen from the garden by a group of 3 girls on 18th February. Picture; Greg Macvean

The display was only recently finished when the bird was taken on Saturday night – prompting an emotional appeal from Jinty for its safe return.

“I’m devastated,” said a tearful Jinty, 48. “As far as I’m concerned it’s stealing from a cemetery because it’s obviously a memorial garden.”

The 3ft metal heron took pride of place next to a tractor tyre Kevin used to work out with, a memorial bench and photos of the keep-fit fanatic.

“He used to like all kinds of birds when he was younger,” said Jinty. “That’s why I put a heron in the garden.

Picture; Greg Macvean

Picture; Greg Macvean

“The bench only came in December and because of the bad weather I haven’t had a chance to sit out.

“I’m obsessed with the garden and am always picking leaves out of it and taking care of it. I’ll be sitting out over the summer.”

Rangers fan Kevin would visit his mum in Ferry Road Gardens three or four times a week after moving to his own place in Crewe Road North.

“He was a strong lad and addicted to exercise,” recalled Jinty. “He would spend time in the garden flipping the tractor tyre.”

Kevin, who suffered depression, tragically took his own life at home in September last year. He was 32.

“He grew up here so the garden is a way of remembering,” said Jinty. “There’s photographs of him, verse and the bench has his name and date of birth.

“The garden is read, white and blue because he was a Rangers fan. There are blue stones around as well.”

Jinty is so protective of the garden, she had CCTV installed to guard it – and hopes that decision leads to the £40 heron’s safe return.

Footage filmed on the cameras show the moment, shortly before 7.50pm on Saturday, when one of three girls reached over and took the treasured bird.

“They walked past and one leaned over my fence,” said Jinty. “They had clearly been drinking as all three had cans in their hands.”

The first she knew of the theft was when a neighbour called on Sunday.

“She asked where the heron was. I’ve not been out as I’m still struggling with grief,” said Jinty, who has bipolar disorder.

“I just want the heron returned – it has such sentimental value. Kevin’s younger sister, Kelly, is devastated too and really angry.”

The three girls are described as skinny, with long hair and all wearing tight-fitting jeans and trainers.

Secretary of TRIM and Friends of West Piton, Barbara Beaufoy, said she was “absolutely horrified”.

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

andy.shipley@jpress.co.uk