A local authority has sparked anger among residents for toppling at least hundreds of headstones because they were deemed “dangerous”.
Families visiting the graves of their loved ones at three cemeteries managed by Scarborough Borough Council in recent weeks were shocked to find seas of headstones uprooted and lying on the ground.
Many suspected youths were responsible until a closer investigation revealed that council officials had ordered them to be ousted for health and safety reasons.
Cemeteries often conduct security checks on monuments to prevent injury from heavy objects falling on visitors.
Official guidelines state that officials should conduct “topple tests,” in which monuments should be gently bumped to determine if they are too unstable.
Scarborough council, which oversees 50,000 graves, insists it has followed guidelines on inspecting memorials taller than 18 inches from this summer.
However, photos shared by local residents on social media suggest the tests were carried out with extreme force, with up to half of all stones laid down in some areas.
Council leaders also insisted that “no headstones were damaged” in the process.
But one photo showed a stone plaque commemorating a deceased couple lying on the ground with corners chipped off.
In many cases the plinths were still in the ground, suggesting that workers had torn down panels rather than digging up unstable monuments.
Government guidelines also state that families should be contacted if the graves of their loved ones are disturbed.
But many Scarborough families only found out about it through social media or when they arrived to lay flowers.
Dawn Jordan, 52, said she discovered gravestones for three family members, including her late mother and a sister who died in 2000, who were uprooted after seeing a Facebook post about the scandal.
She told the Daily Telegraph: “I just find it disgusting that they can just move these without consulting anyone.
“I need to get in touch with the stonemasons that the crematorium assigned me and they need to look at the tomb and make me an offer as to how much it will cost to put the tombstone back.”
The council claims it has been “giving a lot of notice” to people through letters, signs and social media posts from early June.
A spokesman added: “A sensitive review of the memorial stones at our three cemeteries to verify that they are stable and do not pose a safety risk to people visiting the cemeteries and to the staff working at them began in July and will continue.
“No headstones were damaged by our employees and contractors. They are not knocked over, but carefully laid face up on the grave so that the inscription is still legible.
“The little signs attached to the tombstones advise people to contact us if they have any questions. We do our best to place the signs without obscuring the memorial text.
“We do not charge any fees for the repair. Stonemason fees may vary and all new stones (within 10 years) should still be guaranteed and made safe by the stonemason free of charge.’
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/10/10/it-wasnt-yobs-who-vandalised-these-headstones-it-was-the-council-17537204/ It wasn't the fools who "vandalized" those tombstones - it was the Council