John Tate failed to pay the £740 he owed for the headstone on his 14-year-old son's grave. So, the memorial company repossessed it.
The stone was put in place at Joe's grave in Holy Cross Cemetery, Wallsend, on December 5 last year.
But on Friday a worker was spotted hammering at the foundations and breaking the stone free before taking it away.
Greg Brown, 60, owner of Brown Memorials, said it was the first time in 40 years of business he had been forced to remove a headstone.
"I've been doing this 40 years and this is the only occasion I've had to take a headstone down. The last thing I want is to remove it, I'd prefer to be paid." [Link]