Mourners 'too scared' to visit Wickersley cemetery

By Gareth Dennison | 06/05/2010 0 comments

Mourners 'too scared' to visit Wickersley cemetery

DRUNKENNESS, dog fouling and even footballs hitting gravestones are among the “horrendous” problems which have outraged mourners at a cemetery.

The last few weeks have seen St Alban’s Church, at Wickersley, blighted by the anti-social nightmare which has seen graves desecrated.

Some grieving relatives are even becoming too intimidated to visit because of crowds drinking and playing football in the car park.

A Facebook group calling for respect for the holy grounds has attracted more than 200 members since it was set up earlier this week.

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Police said that there had been very few incidents in the area, but invited anyone affected to come forward with their stories in confidence.

Concerned local Chris Baum (37), of Bramley, said: “People feel powerless and it’s just awful that this is dominating conversation among people at the graveyard, who should be there to remember people they have lost and pay their respects.

“I’ve spoken with a lady who’s just recently lost her husband and another who lost her daughter a few years ago. They are feeling unnerved about visiting, even during the day.

“Another woman actually witnessed a football hitting her husband’s grave, but didn’t say anything because she felt intimidated.

“I think it’s horrendous that people should feel threatened and have the graves of their loved ones violated. There needs to be stricter rules.”

One pensioner, who visits every day but asked not to be named, said: “No-one has actually damaged any of the graves, it’s just the lack of respect that’s getting to people.

“It’s been happening for a few months and these aren’t young boys or youths playing football, they are young men.
“And a lot of people are letting their dogs roam about and not cleaning up after them.
“It’s upsetting, and such a shame because the place is kept in very good condition otherwise.”

A police spokeswoman said that only three incidents of anti-social behaviour had been reported since January.

These were a nuisance youth, a nuisance vehicle in the car park and an attempted theft of lead from the community centre roof.

She added: “Officers do patrol the area regularly and there have been no serious issues that we are aware of.

“But we do encourage people to come forward and tell us about anything like this.

“Pc Craig Dyson, from Wentworth Valley Safer Neighbourhood Team, holds regular surgeries where residents can raise any concerns like this with him in confidence and in private.”

The next surgery takes place at Wickersley Community Centre on Tuesday from 5-6pm.


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