A family have been left heartbroken after a dad’s ashes were stolen following an early morning break-in at their garage.

Nigel Hill died aged 72 from pancreatic cancer in January this year and his family had planned to scatter his ashes at Woodbank Cricket Club where he was a big part of the community.

Last year he walked 20 laps of the club grounds with hundreds of people in aid of Bury Hospice, where he received care.

His daughter Sarah Hill said that on Tuesday, September 19 her parent’s garage, on Brandlesholme Road, was broken into between the hours of 4am to 4.30am.

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She said: “They opened locked cupboards and took power tools but on top of the workbench my dad’s ashes were placed inside a bag with a hammer on top.

“My dad was always happy in the garage, he was always fixing things, mending things, building and designing things and the garage door was always open, he was always in it.

“We just thought that when he passed away, he’d be happiest in there until we got the opportunity to spread his ashes at Woodbank Cricket Club where he wanted to go but unfortunately that’s been taken away from us.”

The family had planned to scatter his ashes in the next few weeks.

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Sarah said that police couldn’t find any fresh fingerprints due to the rain, but they have been fantastic and are trying their best due to the nature of the incident.

She added: “Police are doing their best and I have to praise them, the local community and everyone at Woodbank Cricket Club.

“The local community have been fantastic.

“We just want to appeal to the person that we’re not bothered about power tools are anything, we just want dad back because its utterly horrendous.

“The person has to have a conscience, they must have parents or someone they love, and they need to put themselves in our shoes and think how they would feel.

“He was in the garage because it was his happy place and it’s what he would have wanted.”

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The ashes were kept in a green rectangular box in a burgundy bag.

The family are asking people to keep an eye out when they are out and about.

The council has been informed and has confirmed that staff will check when emptying public bins.

PC Rhian Toland of Greater Manchester Police's Bury division, said: "This behaviour is totally unacceptable, and we will work hard to find out the full circumstances and hopefully find the victim’s family ashes so we can return them to her.

“As you can imagine, the victim has been left terribly upset her home has been broken into and the ashes of her dad have been taken.

“I would like to urge anyone who may have information regarding the burglary, or has witnessed anyone acting suspiciously in the area, to make contact with us immediately so we can follow these line of enquiry and find out the full circumstances of this incident.

"Residents or businesses with private CCTV are also asked to check for anything that may be of relevance and make contact with us.”

Anyone with any information should contact police on 101, quoting incident number 2,738 of 19/9/2023.

Information can also be shared with the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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