Deloraine Cemetery volunteer groundsman John Wise at the patch of dirt where 50 shrubs once stood. The theft of the shrubs was discovered late last month. Picture: GEOFF ROBSONTHIEVES have uprooted 50 newly planted shrubs from a Northern cemetery.

The shrubs were planted at the Deloraine Cemetery with the help of local resident John Wise, who has been a volunteer groundsman for two years.

Mr Wise said he started planting and cleaning up the area to give something back to the community.

“I wanted to tidy it all up so it looked respectable,” Mr Wise said.

“A lot of these old graves, there is nobody to look after them.

“But people go in there and look at the headstones. And I like to keep things nice and tidy.”

Mr Wise said he has many family connections to the older graves at the entrance to the cemetery.

Plaques for his wife, who died in 2009, and parents, are also found in a memorial wall.

It is believed the Meander Valley Council provided up to $400 to buy the shrubs.

A council employee reported the theft to the Deloraine Police in late December.

Acting Inspector Russell Judges said anyone with any information should contact the Deloraine Police on 6362 4004 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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