Fly-tippers dump rubble in cemetery

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A HISTORIC Sheffield cemetery where volunteers staged a huge clean-up operation just a few weeks ago has been blighted by more fly-tipping - with five tonnes of builders’ rubble dumped in the graveyard.

Council workers are set to go out tomorrow to remove the huge pile, which included asbestos, from Wardsend Cemetery.

The rubbish has been dumped despite efforts of the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery community group to tidy and look after the burial ground after years of neglect.

And only six weeks ago, volunteers from Sheffield Council’s waste management contractor Veolia donned high-visibility vests, safety shoes and gloves and collected more than three tonnes of waste from around graves.

The new fly-tipping has dismayed visitors to the cemetery, which opened in 1857.

Those buried include victims of both world wars, 240 victims of the great flood in 1864 and old soldiers from nearby former Hillsborough Barracks, who have a commemorative obelisk among the graves.

Wendy Cowley, a retired housewife from Australia visiting Sheffield to see friends, said: “Numerous members of the family I married into are buried in Wardsend Cemetery and, while here, I visited their graves.

“To find landfill dumped in the cemetery is unbelievable. It’s a terrible disrespect of the dead.”

Another visitor to the cemetery, who did not wish to be named, said: “A large area of the cemetery is now under mounds of rubble. Surely the graves of our ancestors are worth more than simply a place to dump household and industrial waste.”

Wardsend Cemetery was last used for a burial in 1977, when the re-interment of remains from a building site close to Sheffield Cathedral took place. The cemetery officially closed in 1988.

In recent years, it has been increasingly neglected, overgrown and blighted by litter, unauthorised dumping and weeds including Japanese knotweed.

A Sheffield Council spokesman said: “There is about five tonnes of rubbish altogether - mostly builders’ rubble - at the cemetery.

“Our Parks and Countryside team were made aware of this fly-tipping last week, but as it was found to contain some material containing asbestos, this had to be removed carefully first. The remainder of the rubbish is to be cleared tomorrow.”

Work was due to have been carried out yesterday but that was delayed due to workmen having to deal with other incidents of fly-tipping in Tongue Gutter and burnt out cars at Longley Park.