Yesterday, angry scenes broke out at a cemetery after family members who were grieving clashed with officers and police over the removal garden tributes surrounding headstones. 

On Wednesday morning, Mill Lane Cemetery, Stockport, Greater Manchester was thronged by large numbers of police officers. A small group of grifters gathered near the entrance to protest against the enforcement officers. 

Stockport Council wrote three years ago to plot owners asking them to take down large floral tributes or flowers that surrounded graves. They were considered to be an obstruction to maintaining the grass in the cemetery. 

The local authority claimed that plot owners had already agreed to the policy regarding large garden tributes. It was acting in its right by taking them out. They said that most families who have lost a loved one follow these rules.  

Residents were upset to learn that Mill Lane Cemetery’s gardens had been maintained for over a decade.  

Kelly Pullen from Cheadle said: ‘We own rights to those graves, we paid for our loved ones to be buried so we should be able to do what we want with them. 

At one point, a grieving father had to be restrained by police officers in a heated exchange at Mill Lane Cemetery in Stockport, Cheshire

One time, the police had to restrain a father who was grieving in an argument at Mill Lane Cemetery, Stockport, Cheshire.

A small crowd of angry grave-owners gathered at the gates of the cemetery, remonstrating with enforcement officers over the removal of garden decorations around headstones

A few angry grave-owners assembled at the cemetery gates to protest against the removal and decoration of headstones’ gardens.

“This place brings us comfort. We’ve decorated graves of loved ones, and now they want to take it away.  The fact is that all of the police are present. Have they got any other tasks? 

Gaynor Braburn of another family member described the events as “horrible” and said that her mother was buried there for fourteen years. 

She stated that she was sent the live video, and it was absolutely horrific. They won’t let anyone in, and everyone is clearly very upset and angry.

They can do such a disgusting thing. The amount of police that exists in this area is incredible. It’s truly horrendous. 

While some protestors were granted entry to their homes, others continued the violence. In a heated confrontation, police had to restrain a father in grief.

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police stated that no arrests had been made. The council bosses supported the move, stating that families were asked to clear the gardens.

There was a large police presence at Mill Lane Cemetery on Wednesday morning as angry family members protested the removal of tributes at gravestones

On Wednesday, Mill Lane Cemetery was filled with police officers as family members protested against the removal of memorials from gravestones.

Sheila Bailey is a Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport. She said, “We know that every family has their unique way of remembering their loved one and that personal ornaments and objects can hold precious memories. 

“All graves have an area surrounding the headstone in which such items may be placed. In Mill Lane Cemetery, we’ve seen more tributes and gardens in recent years. 

“Many have said that Mill Lane was the last resting place of their loved ones because it had a lawned cemetery. But, with the growing number of tributes and gardens built in front of the graves, this is not the case anymore. 

Despite the clashes, no arrests were made and Stockport Council stood by its decision regarding the garden decorations - which it says are an obstacle to lawn mowing

Stockport Council stood firm to its decision about garden decorations, which it claims are an obstruction to lawn mowers.

A large police presence attended the cemetery as emotions ran high over the removal of garden tributes

As emotions rose over the removal garden tributes, a large number of police officers attended the cemetery. 

When a family considers Mill Lane Cemetery, and buys a grave, they will explain the original Mill Lane design.

“We are sensitive to the emotional nature of this issue. We have kept in touch with the grave owners ever since 2018 when we wrote to them to request that their gardens, ornaments, or borders be taken down. 

“Many people responded. Since then, we have tried to reach out to grave owners to learn if they have gardens or other larger displays. Mill Lane is visited by many groups and people. 

“We then wrote to many grave owners in June/October of this year, who still had not removed borders or ornaments and/or tributes. Many have since been cleared. 

“We carefully considered all of the perspectives presented to us in recent years. It is evident that there is an overwhelming wish that Mill Lane Cemetery continue to be a grassy cemetery, as it was originally intended.

The council wants Mill Lane to remain a grassy cemetery, in accordance with people’s wishes. They are grateful for people taking items out today and thanks them for cooperating. In the next few days, we will remove the rest of the items. 

“The council will ensure everyone follows the same rules as the majority of grave-owners.”