A man who visited a remembrance garden for more than 40 years thinking his parents' ashes were there has discovered the soil and plants were replaced more than three decades ago.
The man told the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) he visited the remembrance garden, in a Leicester City Council cemetery, annually.
In 2018, the man – named in an LGO report as Mr X – discovered the soil and plants were removed from the plot in 1986. His parents' ashes had been scattered there in 1976.
When he complained to the city council, he was told "the scattering of ashes over time reduces the capacity of the soil to support plants" so it had to be replaced.
The LGO's investigator said: "The council would not have been able to notify all relatives of its change of plants and soil in the gardens as many parties would be involved."
The report concluded: "There is no requirement for a local authority to preserve scattered ashes on a site forever."
A council spokesman said: "Depending on the location, scattered ashes are likely to completely break down within a few months. Ashes scattered on memorial gardens would also be exposed to normal horticultural practices such as digging and weeding which would further accelerate this breakdown of the ashes."