Fly-tippers dump sofas, chairs and carpets at Sunderland cemetery

A sofa and chair dumped in  Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, Sunderland
A sofa and chair dumped in Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, Sunderland
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FLY-tippers have angered grieving families by dumping sofas, chairs and carpets next to their loved ones’ graves in a Sunderland cemetery.

Relatives today demanded action to track down those responsible for showing “no respect” by discarding furniture beside headstones at Bishopwearmouth Cemetery.

Rolled-up carpets, a three-seater sofa and an armchair were just some of the items left in the graveyard last week.

Joe Allan, 62, of Ford Estate, walks his dog through the grounds every day.

He said: “This just shows no respect whatsoever. It’s a disgrace.

“I’ve seen everything from large cupboards to pieces of wood, but when I saw a big stripy settee, I couldn’t believe it.

“I have spoken to people in the cemetery about the problem, but nothing ever gets done. It’s just a waste of time.

“Surely a graveyard is one place where this kind of thing should not be dumped.”

Karen Seafield, 36, visits the cemetery once a week to lay flowers at the grave of her brother Gary, who was 47 when he died on August 11, 2010.

She said: “It’s disgusting. This just shows how bone idle some people are.

“They can’t even be bothered to go and use the tip. Instead, they think it’s fine to dump their rubbish next to our family’s grave.

“There is no excuse. Just take your rubbish to the tip and show some respect.”

Angela Beck, 49, has been visiting the cemetery regularly since her stillborn daughter Grace was buried there in 2001.

Angela, of Grindon, said: “This is just the latest in a long line of problems.

“I’ve seen people drinking, then throwing their empty cans next to the headstones. I’ve seen vans arrive, packed with dogs which are then allowed to run about and foul everywhere.

“This is just not a respectful place any more.”

Anna Martin’s mother, Elizabeth, is buried in the cemetery.

The 67-year-old, of High Barnes, said: “When I saw that settee just left there, I wondered what things were coming to.

“I’ve been coming here for years, and usually it’s a nice place to visit, but I don’t think this gives a very good impression. I hope it gets cleared away soon.”

Last year, the Echo reported how visitors to the cemetery had complained about dogs being allowed to foul next to graves.

Another resident, who says he has repeatedly complained to Sunderland City Council about the state of the cemetery, said: “After repeatedly witnessing dog owners allowing their dogs off leads to desecrate graves, after repeatedly complaining to the ward councillors, who are reluctant to get involved, after repeatedly complaining to the council, who only give lip service and after repeatedly offering to pay for warning signage, it is the next obvious escalation to the neglect that this cemetery has been given.

“Let us not forget our forefathers and what they have done for this city.

“Let them rest in peace, in a dignified manner. Shame on all those who have a responsibility to ensure this happens.”

Council leader Paul Watson said: “Responsive local services staff undertaking maintenance within Bishopwearmouth cemetery identified the fly-tipping and arranged for it to be collected and disposed of.

“All fly-tipping is antisocial and a criminal offence, and even more unacceptable and disrespectful in a cemetery, where it causes additional distress.

“We would ask people to help us tackle it by reporting it to 520 5555.”