Camera plea at Wakefield cemetery

Graves at the Sugar Lane cemetery have been hit by vandalism. The family of Teagan Dobson, a seven-year-old with cerebral palsy who died two years ago have launched a Facebook appeal for CCTV to be installed at the cemetry.
Graves at the Sugar Lane cemetery have been hit by vandalism. The family of Teagan Dobson, a seven-year-old with cerebral palsy who died two years ago have launched a Facebook appeal for CCTV to be installed at the cemetry.

GRIEVING families are furious that security will not be improved at cemeteries despite plans to invest £1.7m into the service.

Wakefield Council’s cabinet committee is expected to approve a scheme to improve car parking and provide a new rooms for mourning at Wakefield Crematorium, in Kettlethorpe.

But the report ignores pleas from residents who launched a campaign for CCTV cameras to be installed at Sugar Lane cemetery last April.

Carol Churchill and her daughter Hayley started the campaign following a series of reports of vandalism and thefts of toys and flowers from the graves.

Mrs Churchill, of Woodhouse Road, Eastmoor, said: “It is good to see they are investing money but it is all wrong if they are not going to use it for extra security.

“Security is of utmost importance. Vandalism is an ongoing problem and it is not going to go away. Our campaign is still going and we are not going to give up.”

Glynn Humphries, the council’s service director for communities, said CCTV was “not viable” at Sugar Lane.

He said: “The cemetery’s layout would mean a large number of cameras would be needed. They would be difficult to monitor and maintain and there is no electrical supply in the cemetery.

“We have made a number of recommendations to combat anti-social behaviour, including closing the gates in the ‘new’ cemetery between Sugar Lane and Woodcock Street.

“Notices seeking the view of the public on this proposal will be put in place in the cemetery during the next week.”

Equipment will also be upgraded at Wakefield Crematorium if the scheme is approved on Tuesday.

Coun Maureen Cummings, cabinet member for environment and communities, said: “The time has come to invest in these facilities, not just to ensure we meet our legal responsibilities but to improve the service we provide.

“If a crematorium breaks down it can have a very distressing impact on bereaved families, something we must seek to prevent by making sure our crematoria are fit for purpose.”