Humberside

Ferrets to control rabbits at Bridlington cemetery

Ferrets are to be used to help rid a cemetery in East Yorkshire of 100 rabbits.

Visitors to Bridlington cemetery have complained of floral arrangements being eaten and headstones being disturbed.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council agreed that there was a problem and said it will use ferrets next year to control the population.

The rabbits are believed to have entered the cemetery from an adjacent allotment.

The council said rabbits had been digging burrows near some of the graves causing one headstone to become unstable.

'Causing distress'

It said it was reluctant to use traps or poison because the cemetery was open to the public.

Instead the council will spend £1,000 hiring specialists who use ferrets to drive the rabbits out of their burrows.

The fleeing rabbits will then be caught in nets and taken off site, rather than be killed by the ferrets.

John Skidmore, head of street scene services at the council, said: "It's causing distress to bereaved visitors.

"We don't want to eradicate them completely, we just want to reduce the population and this method is the most humane and right way of doing it."

Mr Skidmore said the council had successfully managed to control the rabbit population at other cemeteries in Anlaby and Beverley using ferrets over the last 10 years.

Bridlington cemetery is the largest in East Yorkshire, containing 9,600 plots, and is the size of 10 football pitches.