Moles cause graves ‘risk’ at Stanbury Cemetery

John Collinson at his wife’s grave in Stanbury Cemetery, which is surrounded by molehills

John Collinson at his wife’s grave in Stanbury Cemetery, which is surrounded by molehills

First published in Keighley by

Graves are being put at risk by an infestation of moles at a moorland cemetery, it is claimed.

Stanbury Cemetery is littered with molehills.

And it is feared the burrowing could lead to subsidence at the plots.

Oldfield resident John Collinson, whose late wife, Pat, is buried at the site, has been pressing the council for action since December.

“It’s been getting worse,” said the 66-year-old retired chartered quantity surveyor.

“Last October, the grandchildren came over from France and planted bulbs there, and I’m worried those could be dug up.

“The moles have dug around a memorial bench and they produce trenches over long distances. I’m extremely worried about the possible consequences, and I know other visitors I’ve spoken to at the cemetery are also unhappy. It’s a very emotional and upsetting situation.”

Mr Collinson raised the issue with Worth Valley ward councillor Rebecca Poulsen, and on Monday they had an on-site meeting with cemeteries bosses.

“They agreed they’d do some regular spraying with mole repellent and will trial a sonic device to see if that works,” said Mr Collinson.

“It was a successful meeting, and I’m pleased the council now seems to be taking me seriously, but it’s a shame it has taken three months.

“I will be monitoring the situation, and if these measures don’t work, I will be pressing for other action.”

Bradford Council said occasional problems with moles in rural cemeteries were not unusual, but it was seeking to combat the problem.

Phil Barker, assistant director sport and leisure, added: “The extremely wet weather has exacerbated the problem, causing the moles to migrate away from their normal feeding grounds and usual burrowing territory in the surrounding fields.

“We have sprayed the area with an environmentally-friendly mole repellent, and we will wait to see if this works in conjunction with an improvement in the weather.

“If this doesn’t solve the problem, we will have to investigate other ways to improve the situation. It is very unlikely mole activity would cause permanent damage in the cemetery.”

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