Family Agony As Teen's Grave Vandalised

15 September 2016, 15:34 | Updated: 15 September 2016, 15:38

The family of a teenage girl who died earlier this year have said they are "absolutely devastated'' by the vandalism of her headstone.

Dione Melville died in March at the age of 15 and shares a headstone with her grandfather at Hermand Park cemetery in West Calder, West Lothian.

The vandalism, in which the headstone was damaged after being repeatedly struck, took place between 8am on Tuesday and 8am on Wednesday.

Ornaments and vases surrounding the grave were also destroyed in the attack and police are appealing for information.

Ms Melville's family released a statement on Thursday which described the incident as ``soul-destroying''.

The statement said: "We just want our beautiful Dione to be able to rest in peace with her grandad and for us as a family to be able to grieve.

"We are absolutely devastated by this and the family has been in pieces since.''

Inspector Drew Elliot said: "This was a despicable act which has caused significant upset to a still-grieving family.

"Graveyards should be a place of respect and there will be an increase in patrols in this area over the forthcoming days.

"The area is frequented by visitors and dog walkers, and we'd urge anyone who may have seen suspicious behaviour in this time to come forward.''

West Lothian Council depute leader Cathy Muldoon added: "It's absolutely disgraceful to vandalise a headstone and we'd encourage anyone who has any information on this shocking incident to contact Police Scotland or Crimestoppers as soon as possible.''

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, where information can be given anonymously.