GRIEVING son Jim McSweeney says he’s “disgusted” at council cemetery workers who he claims left a pile of earth on his mother’s grave while digging a nearby plot.
Mr McSweeney, 39, was visiting Whitwood Cemetery last Thursday when he found his mother’s grave covered with a “massive mound of earth” while the plot next to it was being prepared for a burial.
He said: “I was furious when I saw what had happened. I went and had a word with the grave diggers and they told me it was normal practice to put the soil on the neighbouring grave – despite the fact there were huge areas of grass nearby.
“It is so disrespectful, especially when there are acres of grass to dump the soil on. My family needs some kind of apology as we weren’t notified this disgusting treatment was going to happen.”
Mr McSweeney’s mother Abina – who died last year, aged 82 – was buried at the Wakefield Council-run cemetery, on Leeds Barnsdale Road, in December.
Mr McSweeney, of Pontefract Road, Castleford, added: “She has only been buried for three months and we are all still very upset about her death.
“My father is 90 and if he knew about this, or had seen the grave, it would have made him very upset.
“I think people should be told if this is going to happen so they don’t have to come long and see it for themselves, it was a total shock.
“I called the council and they told me apologetically that it was a ‘working graveyard’ and it is normal practice to use the most ‘convenient’ place to put the soil.”
Glynn Humphries, Wakefield Council’s service director with responsibility for cemeteries and crematoria, said: “We have apologised for any distress and upset caused and explain that so others can be laid to rest, we do need to excavate from time to time, which can affect adjoining graves.
“While we do make owners of graves aware of this when they receive the deeds for the grave they have purchased, we also appreciate that the covering of a grave may cause distress and so keep the time a grave is covered to a minimum. Every care is taken to reinstate the area following the work.”