A grieving widow has issued a heartfelt appeal for information leading to the return of her late husband’s ashes, which were stolen following a break-in. 

The ashes of Tilbury-born Chris Humbles, 75, were taken from a distribution centre at Phoenix Park in Parkwood, near Maidstone, along with a large quantity of parcels in November. 

Despite appeals in Kent, no-one has provided information about the whereabouts of the ashes and now his wife, Diane Humbles, 69, is pleading with people in south Essex to come forward.

It comes after a lorry suspected of being involved in the burglary was seen on camera heading into the county over the Dartford Crossing.

It is believed the package could have been dumped in the south of the county. 

Diane said: “I am absolutely heartbroken this has happened. I just want to get my husband’s ashes back so he can rest in peace.

"This has been a really distressing time for me and my family.”  


Read more:

Emergency services descend on A127 after three-vehicle crash blocks carriageway

Good Samaritan punched after stepping in to help man being beaten and robbed by station

Mr Humbles died unexpectedly in October after developing septicaemia.

Mrs Humbles had asked the funeral home that managed her husband’s cremation in Yorkshire, where she now lives, to arrange for the safe transfer of his ashes to Charing Crematorium near Ashford, so they could be scattered in the same place as other relatives’ ashes.  

The funeral home had called on a specialist firm that manages the transport of ashes to arrange the delivery and had deposited the package, as instructed, at a collection point, from where the firm had commissioned Hermes to collect them.

During transit, they were taken to a warehouse at Phoenix Park.

The parcel was stolen, along with other items and a van, during a break-in on the night of November 25.  

Mr and Mrs Humbles had been married for 41 years with four children between them, along with eight grand-children and three great-grandchildren.  


Mr Humbles was born in Tilbury, his father worked at the Tilbury Docks when he retired from the navy and they lived there until the area was flooded in 1953.

Mr Humbles then moved with his family to North Stifford, Thurrock. 

The couple met when Mrs Humbles was working for a record label and Mr Humbles was a roadie.

He later became a transport manager and worked in the Thurrock area up until ten years ago before retiring to Middlestown, Yorkshire, with his wife. 

Phil Barr of George Steele & Son Funeral Directors in Ossett, which managed Mr Humbles’ funeral, said: “We recognise this is an extremely distressing time for the family and we are doing absolutely everything we can to help return Mr Humbles’ ashes.   

“We are offering a cash reward for their safe return and ask anyone with information to come forward and assist the police investigation into the theft and the recovery of the stolen parcels."   

George Steele & Son is appealing for anyone with information about the incident to contact Kent Police on 01622 604 100, quoting the reference 46/210447/20. 

Kent Police have arrested three people in connection with the burglary. The investigation is ongoing.