Northumberland County Council is carrying out headstone safety testing in its cemeteries over the coming months.
It forms part of a pre-planned five-year programme to test the safety and stability of all memorials within cemeteries and closed churchyards which are managed by the authority. This type of testing is standard practice across the country and is required in all cemeteries to ensure public safety.
If any memorials are found to require attention, the memorial owner will be contacted and the cemeteries team will provide help to ensure any memorials of concern are made safe.
It is the responsibility of the grave owner to maintain the memorial in a safe condition, including any repairs that may arise over the years. Any repairs will have to be carried out by an approved monumental mason.
Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services at the county council, said: “While we appreciate this is a sensitive issue, we have a duty of care to make sure our cemeteries are safe for visitors. The council is contacting families and deed holders to advise them the safety checks are taking place.”