A family was left distraught by damage to a loved one’s grave after Council workers excavated the neighbouring plot.

Michael Boddy said a huge mound of earth had been dumped on his late wife Carol’s grave in Utley Cemetery, Keighley.

The 56-year-old said the digging had also caused part of her plot to collapse.

Mr Boddy, of North Dean Road, Keighley, said the many memorial ornaments, lights and flowers placed on her grave had been removed and dumped in a mud-spattered pile.

“I know this work needs to be carried out, but it was the way they’d done it,” he said. “It was disgraceful, and completely disrespectful.”

Mr Boddy, a former doorman, said he and his wife were married for 37 years and had seven children.

Mrs Boddy died in her sleep in May last year, aged 57. She had been suffering from a serious, worsening spinal condition.

Mr Boddy said he and some of his children discovered the damage to her grave.

“It was total devastation, I just burst into tears,” he said. “Everything we’d put on the grave – flowers, solar powered lights, plastic vases, cherubs – had been thrown onto one side. Some of it was broken and covered in mud.

“There was plenty of space nearby for them to dump the earth from the new grave, they didn’t have to pile it on my wife’s plot.

“Part of my wife’s grave had subsided, so they were within a foot and a half of exposing her coffin.”

John Scholefield, Bradford Council’s bereavement and amenities manager, said: “We have every sympathy with anyone who is upset by cemetery excavations, but staff often have no alternative but to temporarily store the soil from an excavated grave on an adjacent plot.

“We take every care, as we did in this case, to carefully remove any items from the grave and store them in a safe place until the soil can be removed. In this case none of the items were damaged and they were later returned to their original position.

“In very wet weather and with graves so close together it is common, despite the shoring, for there to be some slippage of material from one plot into the adjacent excavation.

“If this results in any settling of soil, we will reinstate it at a later date to restore it to its original level.”

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