Trinkets and presents left at a communal baby memorial have been dumped after council bosses branded them 'inappropriate'.
Grieving parents were furious when they found toys, flowers and mementoes were removed without their permission or knowledge by South Tyneside Council.
Many parents with memorials for children at South Shields Crematorium had left tributes and trinkets at plaques bearing the names of their loved ones.
But now they have been swept up and dumped at the back of the crematorium next to rubbish bins.
One group of mums say they are stunned how anyone could be so heartless.
South Tyneside Council bosses have apologised for any distress caused and are now looking to create an indoor area for mementoes to be left.
Lynn Robe, from Westoe, South Shields, was devastated when she discovered a snow globe she had left had been broken and a little charm had vanished.
The 30-year-old said: 'I asked where my baby's belongings had disappeared to.
'I thought perhaps they had been put in a special room, but I was taken to the back of the crematorium, next to the bins and all the other rubbish.
'When I found the globe it had been smashed into three pieces. Then I couldn't find the little baby star charm I used to hang on the plaque. It had been there for about a year.
'I have no idea why someone would do this.
What harm is it doing to anyone? They could have at least warned us this was going to happen.
'They have our telephone numbers, they could even have put a little notice beside the memorial, then we would have taken them away.'
Parents pay £200 to be able to have their plaque displayed for 10 years, and there is a space a few feet away from the memorial where small bunches of flowers can be left.
On special days, like birthdays, families sometimes leave bigger mementoes beside their child's name.
Danielle Stephen, 25, from Redberry Way, South Shields, left a £90 floral spray on February 16, saying 'I love you', to mark her stillborn son Stephen Armstrong's plaque.
But when a friend visited less than 48 hours later, it had vanished.
Miss Stephen, who last year founded the charity Sweet Dreams Our Angels, which provides memory boxes to hospital maternity wards, said: 'I left a floral tribute for my baby but it was taken away.
'I would have loved to have been able to buy him gifts to show him I'm thinking of him and that miss him more than anything, but now I find out that this is not allowed.
'I am unable to do the one thing I am able to do for my baby who is no longer here.
'The hurt and anger I feel by all of this is just indescribable. 'Why do they want to stop us doing the only thing we have left to do for our children?'
A spokeswoman for South Tyneside Council said: 'We are sorry for any distress caused by the removal and storage of mementoes.
'While care is taken when removing personal items from the memorial, we appreciate the parents views that the secure outdoor area is not an appropriate place to store them and we will be reviewing our policy.
'Although the terms and conditions request that only small posies of flowers are attached to the baby memorial wall, we do appreciate that some families want to express their emotions by leaving small personal items.
'We are looking into the possibility of whether they can be displayed and protected from the weather.
'We will be consulting with families on this proposal in the near future.'
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