Relatives of people buried in Littlehampton Cemetery have reported having to strim their families’ graves to combat the ‘disgusting’ condition of the site.
Anita Page and Lynn Baker both told the Gazette how they had felt compelled to tidy sections of the cemetery due to overgrowing plantlife.
The cemetery is maintained by a contractor on behalf of Arun District Council.
After the Gazette contacted Arun to share the concerns, the council apologised for the cemetery’s condition – but said it had now been cut.
But both Mrs Paige and Mrs Baker visited the cemetery following the council’s statement on Friday (June 29) and disputed the claim.
“There is a dramatic and distressing contrast between the way one half of the cemetery is kept compared to the other,” said Mrs Paige.
“They have strimmed some of the graves, but they have let the grass turn to hay so it still looks filthy. I found beer cans on the graves too.
“It’s disgusting – they should be ashamed.”
Mrs Paige, 56, from Hampshire, has generations of her family buried in the cemetery, including her parents and grandparents, and said she had strimmed their graves and about 15 either side.
Mrs Baker, 69, of Glenbarrie Way, Worthing, has several family members in the cemetery including her husband.
She has been tidying her husband’s grave herself.
Mrs Baker said the cemetery was a beautiful, peaceful place but was now ‘disgusting and overgrown’.
In a statement, an Arun spokesman said: “Arun District Council apologises for any distress caused by the maintenance in the cemetery and acknowledges that the grass has been longer than normal in some of the older sections of the area.
“This season has been incredibly challenging and our contractors are working hard to keep on top of things. The whole of the cemetery has now been cut.
“The older sections are more time consuming and harder to manage as they are uneven and contain old kerb edging and because of that will not look as manicured and tidy as lawned sections.”
Mrs Baker agreed with Mrs Paige that more needed to be done.
“If that’s their idea of doing something, I don’t think they’re doing a very good job,” she said.