Memorial plaques for children stolen

Heartless thieves in Australia have stolen memorial plaques erected by families in memory of their dead children, in an attempt to sell them for scrap metal.

Eighty plaques were taken from  the Altona Memorial Park in Melbourne's west sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday, police say.

The bronze plaques were erected in memory of children by their families in the Garden of Little Angels in Altona North.

The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust which manages the memorial park is working with police, including handing over CCTV footage, after initial inspections indicated bronze plaques had been removed.

The Trust is contacting affected families and supporting them through insurance claims to get the damage repaired, chief executive Andrew Eriksen said.

"This type of act is highly distressing - in any instance - for the bereaved friends and family affected, he said. 

"The fact that the memorials impacted are those of children is all the more devastating."

Detectives warned scrap metal dealers to be wary of thieves attempting to sell the plaques.

Police are appealing for anyone with information or video footage to come forward and have urged scrap metal buyers to report any suspicious activity.