A cemetery has been cordoned off by police and forensic investigations have taken place after a grave was disturbed.
Officers have been at the graveyard in Metal Bridge, County Durham, since Saturday afternoon and a large, white protective tent has been erected.
One local, who asked not to be named, said: "They have been there all weekend. The officers in their white suits have been working there.
"We don't know what has been going on, we haven't been told anything.
"But there's more to this than a damaged headstone."
People in the small village on a busy road that links to the A1 near Durham, have talked about something been taken away in an estate car with blacked out windows.
Another man said: "On Saturday night I had a walk up the street and you could see them working in the darkness, they had floodlights on and they were taking photographs."
Relatives of people buried in the small graveyard - little bigger than half a football pitch - have been visiting the scene since the cordon was put up.
A Durham Police spokesman said: "Police were called to Metal Bridge Cemetery at 11.45am on Saturday following a report that grave had been disturbed and a headstone damaged.
"Investigations into the incident are under way and anyone with information in regard to the incident is asked to call officers on 101."
The force was due to release more details at a news conference in Metal Bridge today.