A South Tyneside resident has slated the upkeep of Harton Cemetery branding it as “disgusting”.
Richard Ashcroft says he was left angered and disappointed when he visited the area, yesterday, to place a wreath on the gravestones of his mother-in-law Jane Frazer, 70, and his brother-in-law Andrew Frazer, 52, for Christmas.
He said he found the headstone, which lies flat on the ground, was covered in around six inches of leaves and the area generally unkempt.
Mr Ashcroft, from South Shields, said he complained to South Tyneside Council and was told “budget cuts” were to blame.
He said: “You would think with Christmas coming up the council would have made an effort to tidy up the area and make it presentable for families.
“I was disgusted with the state of the cemetery overall, it looks as if the area hasn’t been touched for months.
In all the years I’ve been visiting, this is the worst I’ve seen it.Richard Ashcroft
“In all the years I have been visiting the cemetery this is the worst I’ve seen it.”
Mr Ashcroft added: “I’ve been in touch with the council to complain but all they said to me was it was down to ‘budget cuts’.
“The cost of burials is not getting any cheaper, the cost is rising so I can’t understand why they can’t at least keep on top of the upkeep in the area - especially at this time of year.
“Quite a few people have said how untidy the area is and complained but nothing is being done about it.”
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “Non-gravel roads and footways in our cemeteries are mechanically swept regularly to keep them safe and clear of leaves.
“Where there is a build-up of leaves on and between graves, our contractors and members of South Tyneside Homes’ Handy Estates team endeavour to clear them as quickly as possible.
“We take great pride in ensuring our cemeteries and crematorium are well maintained and provide pleasant and peaceful environments for people to visit and remember loved ones.”