‘Protect our graves’ plea in Nelson

cemetery campaigners
cemetery campaigners
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A group of angry Nelson residents are demanding Pendle Council takes action to stop the damage being done to graves in the town’s cemetery in Walton Lane.

Two weeks ago, we reported how ornaments left on the grave of baby Jayden Frear were being repeatedly stolen – but it seems the problem is more widespread.

Neil McGowan, whose mother Sarah is buried in the cemetery and whose grave is visited by his father Peter three times a day, is campaigning for action to remedy the situation.

“I have been approached by at least nine people since your original story who have had similar experiences,” said Mr McGowan.

“One person had put a wreath on a grave at Christmas and found it to have been thrown into a tree and another man had a gravestone repaired which was knocked over within a week.

“I have approached the council and police but nothing seems to be being done.

“We have had problems with anti-social behaviour and dog fouling for about five years which are causing a lot of upset and we feel enough is enough.”

Mr McGowan said visitors to the cemetery had told him they could not recall seeing police or dog wardens patrolling the graveyard and said the damage caused was not confined to one area, but was spread around.

Pendle Council’s Executive portfolio holder for parks and recreation, which includes cemeteries, Coun. Nadeem Ahmed, described the perpetrators as “mindless yobs and criminals” and said: “This is a serious complaint and it is very sad people have to resort to this type of action.

“We will explore every action to do what we can to find who has caused the damage and take appropriate action against them.”

Pendle Council’s deputy chief executive Philip Mousdale said: “We sympathise greatly with the families who have had to deal with the upset of these despicable thefts.

“But people put items on their relatives’ graves at their own risk.

“We have asked our grounds maintenance staff and other staff who are present in the cemeteries from time to time to report to us anything untoward which they happen to see.

“But quite simply we cannot patrol our cemeteries all the time.”