THIRTY bodies at two Northumberland cemeteries could be buried in the wrong graves, it emerged last night.
Northumberland County Council yesterday revealed there could be around 30 cases at the cemeteries at Berwick of burials in the wrong grave, the wrong memorial being on the grave, deeds having been issued incorrectly or an unregistered burial having taken place.
Bodies may have been buried in the wrong graves for “a number of years” prior to 2009, the authority confirmed.
The possibility is said to arise from “historical inaccuracies in burial records.”
Two council staff have been sacked over the matter and the authority last night issued an apology.
A town resident whose murdered daughter and several other loved ones are buried in the two cemeteries described the revelations, and the prospect of bereaved families visiting the wrong graves, as “terrible.”
The county council yesterday revealed that “problems were suspected” at Berwick North Road and Tweedmouth cemeteries after the authority took over management of the two sites from the now defunct Berwick Borough Council in 2009.
New management arrangements were put in place to monitor operations at the cemeteries.
Officers identified “irregularities” at the cemeteries as a result of which two members of staff, gravediggers Chris Gregory and Malcolm Purvis, were suspended and investigation launched.
The pair have featured in The Journal having been arrested in October 2010 amid allegations they assaulted their manager and pushed her into an open grave at the Tweedmouth cemetery.
Northumbria Police later chose to take no further action due to lack of evidence.
The council’s investigation found that “over a number of years prior to 2009” records for a number of burials had been “incorrectly completed,” with missing “important information” and others “not kept correctly.”
It revealed “there had been little supervision of procedures at the cemeteries.”