Safety inspections to take place in cemeteries in Barnstaple and Ilfracombe.

A PROGRAMME of safety checks is taking place in two local cemeteries this week.

North Devon Council will start checking the stability of headstones at Bear Street cemetery in Barnstaple on Tuesday, and will undertake similar inspections at Ilfracombe’s Marlborough Road cemetery on Thursday.

The memorial testing is being done to ensure the safety of visitors to the cemeteries and preservation of gravestones on both sites.

Councillor Derrick Spear, the council’s executive member for parks and open spaces, said: “Some of the memorials are over 150 years old now and may have become unstable over time.

“The testing process is very discreet and our staff will be sensitive to the needs of families visiting graves and headstones at all times.”

A note will be placed on all unstable memorials and families will be contacted where possible.

In some cases the council may have to cordon off the memorial with tape or temporarily support it to remove any immediate danger.

A list of all unstable memorials will be placed on the cemetery noticeboards and the council’s webpage www.northdevon.gov.uk/cemeteries.

For more information contact the council’s cemeteries officer on 01271 345431 or email cemeteries@northdevon.gov.uk.