Cumbria

Cumbria cemetery damaged by runaway lorry

St John the Baptist cemetery
Image caption The lorry destroyed around 30 gravestones before coming to a stop

A runaway lorry left the road and destroyed a large part of a cemetery in Cumbria, police said.

Dozens of gravestones were destroyed at St John the Baptist church in Blackford, near Carlisle, on Thursday, before the vehicle came to rest.

The 42-year-old driver, from Kendal, apparently lost control of the lorry while heading southbound on the A7.

Police investigating the incident said no other vehicles were involved, and have appealed for witnesses.

An eyewitness on the road at the time described the scenes to BBC Radio Cumbria as "like a slow-motion action movie".

He said: "It just veered across in front of me, shot through the wall, right through the graveyard.

"There were gravestones flying everywhere. I had to stop for 10 minutes before I got my breath back."

'Very upsetting'

Katy van den Berg, vicar's wife at the church, said: "There is a school the next block along from us, so it could have been much, much worse."

She said the lorry narrowly avoided the church, cutting through a hedge and "bulldozing the gravestones like dominoes".

It destroyed around 30 headstones, then continued through a dry stone wall at the other end of the cemetery.

It went across another road before finally coming to a stop in a nearby field. Police said nobody was injured.

Ruth Wright, who has family buried in the cemetery, said: "My parents' grave is flattened and my brother's grave has been damaged.

"It's very sad, very upsetting and I can't believe how much damage has been done."

The Canute group, which operated the lorry, has not yet commented.

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