Headstones left in pieces at cemetery

Cemetery workers have come under fire after headstones were knocked over and smashed.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 8:04 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 8:06 am

Mourners at Blyth Links Cemetery, in Links Road, were left shocked after seeing a few headstones lying on the ground after being knocked over by council machinery.

Memorial benches have also been damaged after being clipped by vehicles used by staff.

It is the latest incident involving staff from Northumberland County Council at cemeteries in the south east of the county.

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One mourner said: “It’s unreal that the council can get away with it.

“A nice white marble headstone has been smashed into seven or eight pieces.

“Another headstone has been ripped out of its mounting.

“The council have also driven also grass verges and turned them over.

“They have also damaged memorial benches as well.

“It has been like this for two or three weeks. I would have thought the council would have done something about it.

“There is damage all over the cemetery.”

Officials at Northumberland County Council apologised for the damaged cause and said they had been working with the families to replace the headstones.

A council spokesperson said: “We sometimes have to use vehicles such as small diggers and trailers to carry out works in our cemeteries but our staff always aim to work with utmost of care and respect when operating in cemetery grounds.

“Over the winter, very wet weather conditions have caused the ground to become very soft which has made carrying out our usual operations difficult which has unfortunately resulted in some small areas of damage.

“In all cases we have remained committed to repairing and reinstating any areas that may have been affected during our operations, as quickly as possible.

“We are aware of an incident at Blyth Cemetery where a small excavator fell over and caused damage to two memorials and we have been working with all parties concerned in order to get these replaced at no cost to the families.

“We would like to express our sincere apologies for any distress caused by the damage.

“If anyone has any issues or concerns we would ask that they raise them with us, so that we can address them as a matter of urgency.”