A grave robber pretended to mourn at a funeral before running off with a dead woman's jewellery.

Police in France have arrested a woman in her 60s on suspicion of stealing from coffins before they were buried.

A grieving family at a funeral in the northern town of Liévin, noticed a stranger at their relative's funeral but when approached she explained that she was a friend.

After leaving the intruder to say her goodbyes to the deceased alone, the family returned to find the body stripped of a necklace, ring and earrings that she was due to wear in her final resting place.

Evidence recovered by police showed it was not the only ceremony the suspect had targeted that same day, BBC News reports.

The family called the police, whose investigations led them to a woman living close to the funeral home, in Liévin.

All the jewellery taken from the dead body's fingers, ears and neck were found in the suspect's house, along with more incriminating items.

Police claim the woman was responsible for robbing another body in a coffin – this time a man – of his wallet only hours before stealing the jewellery on Tuesday August 24.

A thorough search of the woman's property unearthed a stack of recent death notices connected to the funeral home.

In each of the notices were the access codes for family members to enter the individual rooms of coffins where they can share their final moments with a loved one's corpse.

The woman will appear in court in 2022.

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