Family anger over gravestones being laid down in a Wisbech cemetery

Mount Pleasant cemetery. Wisbech. John Sanderson next to one of his parents graves.

Mount Pleasant cemetery. Wisbech. John Sanderson next to one of his parents graves. - Credit: Archant

A DISTRESSED brother and sister have accused Fenland District Council of vandalism and criminal damage, after discovering that their parents’ gravestones have been laid down in a Wisbech cemetery.

Mount Pleasant cemetery. Wisbech. John Sanderson next to one of his parents graves.

Mount Pleasant cemetery. Wisbech. John Sanderson next to one of his parents graves. - Credit: Archant

Dorothy Freeman, 69, was shocked to find the stones had been moved when she visited the graves on Tuesday.

Mount Pleasant cemetery. Wisbech.

Mount Pleasant cemetery. Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

Her brother John Sanderson, 74, said: “My sister was in tears and is still getting over the shock.

“You don’t expect the council to vandalise family graves, it is just utterly insensitive.

“We have always made sure the graves are kept in good condition, and my sister has been tending the graves very regularly for years.


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“The council says a member of its staff authorised contractors to tip over the stones because they were lose, but I do not accept that, they were checked regularly.”

The gravestones of Robert John Sanders and Christina Sanderson have been in place at the Mountpleasant cemetery for more than 30 years.

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“When my sister found the stones laid down she first thought they had been targeted by hooligans,” said John. “I live in Birmingham, and came to Wisbech because I was so concerned. We will be making a formal complaint.

“It demonstrates a lack of respect. I am appalled that these stones can be treated in this way without notice, warning or explanation, and I am very angry about it.”

“Even if this is a health and safety issue, what thought have they given to the shock of relatives? I have had five heart by-pass operations, and if I had been a weaker person I could have had a heart attack over the shock of it.”

Mr Sanderson has arranged for a stone mason to replace the headstones, at a cost of more than £300.

A spokesman for Fenland District Council said: “We are very sorry for the distress we have caused. We carry out regular inspections of gravestones to check that they are safe and where one is not, we have to lay it down. Normally we try to contact the registered owner to let them know that it needs making safe and we apologise for failing to do that on this occasion. We are happy to give the family any support and advice they need to help get it reinstated safely.”

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