NOTICES ordering people to keep burial grounds tidy are to be slapped on graves in a South Derbyshire village.
Repton Parish Council said it would resort to taking the action in a bid to solve a long-running problem with maintaining the grounds, in Monsom Lane.
Members of the authority complained that many of the graves were unkempt and had been left to become overgrown with grass and weeds.
Chairman John Shortt said he was ‘ashamed’ of the state of some of the graves but that he was reluctant to sanction a clean-up operation without the permission of families.
But having struggled to get in contact with many of the families, the council said it would put notices on the graves informing them to tidy up the surrounding area.
Mr Shortt said it was a problem the authority had been trying to solve for two years.
He said: “Many have become overgrown and just need tidying up. Many of them are not tended to, but I wouldn’t want to do it without making people aware.
“We have made great progress with tidying the burial grounds but it needs to be finished off.
“When I go down to Willington and look at their burial grounds I feel quite ashamed.”
Meanwhile, the council has resisted calls to have a huge cherry tree in the grounds removed over fears its roots are damaging graves.
After an inspection, the council deemed it not to be adversely affecting graves and said they would be reluctant to give such a historic tree the chop, but would monitor the situation.
Mr Shortt said: “Its trunk must be 2ft in diameter. It isn’t actually damaging any graves at the moment. There is one leaning in slightly but there are others leaning elsewhere.
“We believe it is a mature tree and doubt it will grow any more.”