Widow’s shock at state of husband’s grave

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THREE generations of a Lancaster family were left “devastated and in tears” after finding a loved one’s grave covered in tonnes of soil.

When Teresa Issac went to visit her late husband Fred’s grave at Scotforth Cemetery with her daughter Diane and grand-daughter Clare, the family was shocked to find his resting place covered in a huge mound of soil and rocks.

They said flowers put there just a week before had been broken and bent and thrown behind the mound of dirt, and a temporary cross erected while they waited to install a headstone was on the ground also covered in soil.

Mr Issac, who lived in Ambleside Road, died on November 11 aged 77, and his funeral took place at Christ Church, Lancaster before he was buried at Scotforth Cemetery on November 18.

His grand-daughter Clare Moran said: “We go up every Saturday.

“When we arrived this Saturday and saw what happened we were just devastated. He’s only been dead for four months.

“We went on Monday to see if it had gone but it was even worse.

“My mum saw one of the grave diggers and he said it happened all the time.”

The soil had been dug out to prepare for a burial in the next plot, but Clare said there were other places it could have been put.

“There was just no thought to it at all,” she added.

“What’s worse is that when people go into cemeteries and desecrate graves, they get sent to prison for it, and in our view this is just the same.

“There was definitely space at the other side to put this soil.”

Mr Issac worked at Storeys and then ran a shop called Cams in Norfolk Street, Skerton for many years.

Clare’s husband Chris, who also visited the grave on Saturday, said: “I’m not one for complaining, but I just don’t want this to happen to someone else.”

Mark Cullinan, chief executive of Lancaster City Council, which maintains Scotforth Cemetary said: “In preparing a grave it is normal practice to construct a soil box adjacent to the grave being excavated and this will preclude access for up to a few days to any affected grave.

“During this time any affected grave is fully protected to ensure no damage occurs and any artifacts or flowers on the grave are always relocated to a safe place and then reinstated after the adjacent burial is complete and the soil box removed.

“Reference to this routine practice is included in the Council’s Cemetery Rules and Regulations.

“We have spoken to the family concerned and apologised for any distress this may have caused.”