Graveyard tributes in Barnstaple 'must be removed'

Grave tributes
Image caption North Devon Council said it had tried to deal "sympathetically and tactfully" with families

Mourners have been told to remove any tributes from a graveyard that are not touching head stones.

North Devon Council said people were breaking rules by spreading photographs, messages, lights and other items down the length of graves.

The authority, which runs Bear Street cemetery in Barnstaple, said it made it difficult to cut the grass and to reopen graves to bury relatives.

People laying tributes have described the council as "dictators".

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Relatives have been given a 90-day deadline to remove the items.

Some people have already made the changes. However, 27 families have not yet cleared the graves.

Image caption One family described the move as "upsetting"

Peter Hull has been told to remove the flowers from his brother-in-law's grave.

"For my wife it's very upsetting, for me it is more annoying that a council do not want to listen," he said.

"We live in a world of democracy but they're making me feel like they're dictators."

North Devon Council said it had tried to deal "sympathetically and tactfully" with the families.

Mark Drummond, from the authority, said most of the graves were for two burials.

With the tributes, he said it was "almost impossible to be able to get a digger in to actually reopen the grave."

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