scared to go back

CONFRONTATION: Cemetery Road where three men robbed Zahid Iqbal. (d11011203)
CONFRONTATION: Cemetery Road where three men robbed Zahid Iqbal. (d11011203)

ROBBERS targeted a man who had been visiting family graves in Dewsbury Cemetery.

Zahid Iqbal was forced to give his belongings to men armed with tree branches shortly after leaving the cemetery on Monday evening.

Now he is warning others to steer clear of the area at night.

Mr Iqbal said: “I’m scared about going back. I’m going to be more vigilant and only going during the day.”

The 29-year-old had been at the cemetery to visit the graves of three cousins. He said: “I usually go at least once a week. I went to offer my prayers.”

Mr Iqbal, of Victoria Drive, Thornhill Lees, left the cemetery at around 6pm.

He was walking along Cemetery Road in Westtown when he was confronted by three men carrying branches.

“They said to hand over whatever I had,” he said. “I was really frightened. They didn’t hit me but they threatened me and I knew they would hit me so I handed all my stuff over.”

The robbers then ran off with Mr Iqbal’s bag, which contained two books, his passport, a mobile phone and some cash.

The incident is likely to renew concerns about safety in and around the cemetery.

Dewsbury Cemetery Action Group has long campaigned for improved security to tackle vandalism, drug dealing and anti-social behaviour.

Its members want the cemetery’s derelict chapels restored, with one turned into a visitor centre with accommodation for a night watchman.

Mr Iqbal said: “I would say to people to only go during the day. You never know when something like this could happen to someone else.”

The robbers were described as white men in their early to mid 20s. All were of average build and wore hooded tops and caps.

Phone Det Con 2687 Andy Clayton via 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.