Couple deny using graves as a dump

PUBLISHED: 11:22 30 June 2006 | UPDATED: 21:57 28 May 2010

Where the rubble has been dumped

Where the rubble has been dumped

A COUPLE building a home in a Fenland village deny a family s claim they used a disused graveyard as a dumping ground for their rubble. Trevor and Ruth Ashman say all they did was to put a temporary fence around a grave for health and safety reasons - and

The site of the development

A COUPLE building a home in a Fenland village deny a family's claim they used a disused graveyard as a dumping ground for their rubble.

Trevor and Ruth Ashman say all they did was to put a temporary fence around a grave for health and safety reasons - and it was up for only a week.

The Ashmans had been concerned for sometime about the wall which divides their property from the disused graveyard in High Street, Benwick.

"I first contacted the owners of the graveyard in 2002, and advised them about the danger of the wall," said Mrs Ashman.

She said that since their old house was demolished, the wall has gradually crumbled and eventually the church authorities put up a sign advising people to beware of falling masonry.

But Ron and Felicity Thacker accused the Ashmans of trespassing on consecrated grounds and using the yard, which was closed when the Baptist Church was demolished in 1963.

Mr Thacker, of Southampton Place, Chatteris, was informed of the fence across the grave of Thomas and Martha Thacker, his grandparents, on June 18, and visited it the next day.

He said: "I hate coming here. To think they lay there with a fence across them is very distressing."

Mr Ashman said: "It was done purely for health and safety. I had to protect the area as I did not want to see anyone injured by falling in the trench."

His wife Ruth added: " My family has lived on this plot for over 20 years and has never seen anyone tend that particular grave nor ever seen flowers on it either."

Mr Ashman said: "They are upset and I can appreciate that. I understand where they are coming from and I wish I could have spoken to them earlier.

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