‘Distressed’ visitors to St Mary’s cemetery say logs and wood chippings from eight mature trees cut down by Ashfield District Council were left dumped on graves – while there was also evidence of tyre marks across others.
Furious Keith Laver and his sister Shirley Patrick say they were left horrified after visiting their their parents William and Kathleen’s grave.
“I couldn’t believe the damage and devastation in a cemetery on the weekend of Mothering Sunday. People were visibly shocked,” said Keith, who is formerly of Sutton but now lives in Clipstone.
"It shows a complete disregard for the sanctity of graves and disrespect for people’s loved ones. Trees need maintenance, but there’s no reason why logs couldn’t be stacked on the road not left lying about on graves – and you could see heavy tyre tracks across some graves.”
His sister described the scene as ‘very upsetting’.
“My grandson, a baby is buried by the back wall, there were tracks nearby and sawdust blown all over. We were shocked,” she said.
And John Smith, of Ashgate, claimed the work could also have an impact on wildlife.
“They have gone in willy-nilly cutting down tall trees that have taken maybe 80 to 100 years to grow,” he said. “It’s a complete destruction of bird habitats, the birds can’t back to nest there now.”
The council has apologised to families who 'suffered upset and distress’ and said the trees were cut down amid concerns they were damaging graves.
"Many parents who have tragically lost a child have requested the council to act with regards to the trees,” said the spokesman. “They were causing damage and grave areas have not been able to be maintained to a high enough standard. The council acted on these requests and will be making other improvements.
“We are aware of the condition the site was left in over the weekend, and apologise to those who suffered upset and distress when visiting their loved ones’ graves. We want to assure cemetery users that the council takes this matter seriously, and council officers are on site this morning to address the issue with the contractor involved.”