Safety alert over grave stones in Hartlepool cemetery
Council chiefs have explained action taken over a number of unsafe headstones in a Hartlepool cemetery.
Hartlepool Borough Council has laid 30 headstones flat on the ground at Stranton Cemetery after an inspection found they were at risk of toppling over.
The authority is now in the process of trying to contact relations of the plots concerned to ask them to make the headstones safe.
Notices have been put on the cemetery’s notice board advising that safety inspections are happening.
Some cemetery visitors at first feared the action to be the work of sick vandals.
But the council has confirmed that is not the case and it has carefully laid the affected memorials flat following safety inspections.
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesperson said: “We carry out regular safety inspections of the memorial stones in Stranton Cemetery, and in a recent inspection we found 30 which were very loose and at potential risk of falling over.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
“In accordance with our normal procedures, we have carefully laid them flat and we are now in the process of trying to contact the owners of those graves to advise them of the situation and to ask them to please rectify the problem.
“Where we have addresses for them we are sending them a letter, but we have also placed a small notice on the graves themselves, asking the owners to please contact the Cemetery Office on 01429 274517, and we have also placed a notice on the cemetery notice board.
“If we haven’t received a response after a period of two months, we will insert the stones upright into the ground to secure them.”
Notices on the affected headstones say: “Please note this memorial has been identified as unsafe. Please contact the cemetery office for further advice.”
Stranton Cemetery the biggest cemetery in Hartlepool and is one of four run by Hartlepool Borough Council along with West View Cemetery, Spion Kop and North Cemetery.
The Spion Kop and North cemeteries are currently closed to new burials apart from the reopening of existing family plots.