Sheffield graves ‘desecrated’ by dogs and rubbish

Geoffrey Burley, who is appalled at 'desecration' of graves at cemetery in Burngreave.
Geoffrey Burley, who is appalled at 'desecration' of graves at cemetery in Burngreave.

‘Disrespectful’ dog owners and fly-tipping residents are ‘desecrating’ a cemetery, according to a concerned resident who wants to see dogs banned from it.

Geoffrey Burley, aged 64, of Ridge View Drive, Wincobank, claims irresponsible dog walkers are letting their pets run riot in Burngreave Cemetery, near Melrose Road and Scott Road.

He likened pets’ fouling on gravestones to ‘sacrilege’ and added rubbish was being thrown on to graves from nearby houses.

Mr Burley, whose aunt’s grave is in the cemetery, is calling for a ban on dogs in the area and for letters to be sent to residents warning them not to litter.

He said: “If you come in from the Scott Road entrance and turn left, you can see that people have been tipping rubbish.

“There’s an old TV and some of the rubbish is on the gravestones.

“To me, it’s sacrilege. What would these people think if someone did it to their loved one’s grave?

“The only thing I can think of is that terraced houses back on to the cemetery.

“It’s obviously someone who is simply throwing rubbish over the wall. It’s desecration.”

Mr Burley compared the situation to when a student urinated on a Sheffield war memorial in 2009, adding: “Someone has laid a loved one to rest there. They might as well be in a refuse dump.”

Much of the rubbish has since been cleared and a new sign has since been put up on the cemetery’s gates by Sheffield Council warning of fines for offenders.

Mr Burley added: “It’s good that they have put the signs up. But you still have people walking their dogs in the cemetery.

“It’s disrespectful and not very nice. Ideally I would like to see dogs banned. Even if you keep them on their leads, they still go around fouling.

“And it’s obviously rubbish being thrown over the fence rather than being brought in. I can’t see that the perpetrators have read the sign.

“It could do with the council sending a letter to everyone who lives next to the cemetery.”

A council spokesman said: “We are aware of a recent incident of fly-tipping at Burngreave Cemetery and our environmental health and bereavement services staff are currently investigating.

“We work hard to keep our city’s cemeteries clean and tidy and erect signs to reinforce the fact fly-tipping is prohibited.

“All incidents of fly-tipping are investigated and when we have evidence which proves who the perpetrators are, we will not hesitate to prosecute them.

“The penalties for fly-tipping are a £50,000 fine and five years in prison for the most serious cases.”