A PRECIOUS locket containing a baby's ashes stolen from grave was returned thanks to a campaign by the Bury Times.

Darren Walmsley and his family, were left "heartbroken" after they noticed that a silver locket, which contained the ashes of new-born Max, was missing last month.

The ashes of Max, who died in May last year, had been buried in the grave of his uncle Ben Walmsley, at the Parish Church of All Saint's, Stand, in Whitefield.

A small amount of the ashes were also contained in the heart-shaped locket placed around an ornament at the grave.

After visiting the grave on April 28, Mr Walmley's son and Max's father, Kade, noticed that the invaluable jewellery was gone and other items had been targeted.

Despite searching across the churchyard, in case the locket had been misplaced or picked up by a magpie, they were unable to find it.

The incident "devastated" the family, who are in mourning following the loss of three relatives in 12 months, with Mr Walmsley previously saying that it was "like having our grandson taken away again."

The family then launched an appeal for its return, publicising their campaign through the Bury Times.

However, their despair has since turned to relief, after the locket miraculously reappeared almost 10 days later.

The locket was discovered left in a pile on the grave by Mr Walmsley's mother, Pearl, aged 69, when she visited the churchyard on Sunday.

Mr Walmsley, aged 49, from Radcliffe, said: "I was up at the grave again on Friday with my son and there was nothing there.

"But my mum was up their on Sunday and the necklace was back on the grave.

"It was as in a pile as if someone had just walked past and dropped it."

Mr Walmsley said he also believed that the media coverage around the family's plight had led to the locket's safe return.

He said: "We are grateful for it being returned. My son and all of us are very happy. We didn't expect it to return but it has.

"The coverage in the paper has obviously made someone feel guilty and pricked someone's conscience.

"I think someone had read it and then gone back. We are made up.

"If it hadn't been for the Bury Times we probably wouldn't have seen it again."

The locket has now been refastened to an ornament at the grave and Max and Ben have been reunited.