Concern at state of new grave plot

The sunken grave at Mayfield cemtery, in Cramlington.
The sunken grave at Mayfield cemtery, in Cramlington.

A resident has hit out at the ‘disgraceful’ way a newly-dug grave was allowed to sink and be left for days.

Alan Shellard, of Cramlington, was shocked to see the soil on a grave had sunk by around two feet during a visit to Mayfield Cemetery in the town.

Mr Shellard had been visiting a relative’s grave when he noticed workmen digging the new grave.

When he returned two days later, he was shocked to see floral tributes had dropped below ground level while there was a deep hole in one corner.

He said: “It looked atrocious and was disgraceful. The council blamed the rain but it wasn’t the weather at fault.

“Anyone who put their hand in would have nearly touched the coffin. There is no excuse for it.”

A Northumberland County Council spokesperson said: “Our cemetery teams are highly experienced and are aware of the need to work with dignity and respect at all times.

“Following the burial on July 24, there was some natural sinkage, which is common to most graves. This was increased due to the heavy rainfall over the weekend.

“Our maintenance teams routinely revisit new graves to see if the ground has settled and needs topping up.

“However, we did receive a call about this sinkage on July 27, and a team attended first thing the following day but were unable to carry out the work at that time.

“We then returned later that week and after removing the flowers and tributes, topped up the soil before replacing the items on top.”

“The relatives of the deceased have not raised any concerns with us.”