A grieving resident has criticised people for not respecting Alnwick Cemetery, claiming that irresponsible owners are letting their dogs foul by graves and youths have hit memorial ornaments with a football.
The complainant, who does not want to be named, contacted the Gazette to voice numerous grievances.
The resident said: “I visit Alnwick Cemetery at least once every week, tending six family plots.
“On a visit last month, I was very sad and upset to see children playing football in what will be the next new part of the cemetery.
“There was a man with them, but he left saying he would be back later for them.
“They kicked the ball through the opening in the hedge, which hit vases and knocked them over, which is not very respectful.
“Also, I am really fed up of people walking their dogs in the cemetery, some allowing them off the lead whereby they run all over the graves.
“I have had to clean up dog poo right next to the headstone of one of my relatives, which was very distressing.”
The resident also raised concerns about rabbits, adding: “It would also be really good if something could be done about the rabbits who eat all of the flowers. Sometimes, flowers are only there a few hours and when you go back, there’s not a leaf or a flower left.
“It’s very painful when it’s all you can do for your relatives now and the flowers don’t last five minutes.”
The cemetery is owned and managed by Alnwick Town Council. In September, the council issued a statement through the Gazette, asking cemetery visitors to adhere to the guidelines, including keeping dogs on leads. Earlier this week, clerk Bill Batey reiterated this message.
He added that people should not be playing football on consecrated ground and said that a letter could be sent out to nearby residents to highlight the fact that ball games are not allowed at the site.
Of the rabbits, he conceded that ‘from time to time there is a problem’, but he is ‘not aware of any significant problem at the moment’.