Grieving mom catches grave robber after sewing tracker inside teddy bear

Grieving mom catches grave robber after sewing tracker inside teddy bear

A grave-robber has been jailed after a grieving mum placed a tracking device inside a teddy bear at her murdered son’s resting place.


Andrew Balshaw was locked up for 12 months after he admitted stealing from 16-year-old Andrew Holland’s grave. Joan Holland was so devastated by losing her son, who was stabbed to death outside a takeaway in 2007, that she has visited his grave every Sunday to place items on it she thought he would like. But Mrs Holland and her family became frustrated and angry that the gifts kept going missing. After they found the grave completely stripped on Mother’s Day this year, they decided to act.

Mrs Holland’s son Martin bought a :£200 tracker and they stitched it into a teddy bear, leaving it on the grave in St Michael’s churchyard, Bolton, Greater Manchester. The next day, at 5pm, Mrs Holland’s daughter-in-law received an automatic alert warning her the teddy was being moved and the family was able to track the teddy’s route via GPS. It led them to Balshaw’s flat where police arrested him and recovered the bear, as well as other items including an angel which had been stolen from the grave six months earlier and a porcelain dog belonging to the family.

The court heard that Balshaw, 48, had stolen the items to give to his girlfriend. After his arrest Balshaw initially claimed he had bought the teddy and found the other items, but then later pleaded guilty to theft and possessing a small amount of cannabis. The court heard he was sorry for committing the offence and now understands how his victims feel after suffering the loss of his grandfather recently. He added that while on remand in prison Balshaw has been targeted by other prisoners. Mr Toal said: “Because of the nature of this offence, he has been significantly bullied and subject to violence.”

Moms are smarter than grave robbers when it comes to their babies.

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