GRAVESTONES in a Bradford cemetery have been damaged by a fallen tree which was struck by lightning.

Between 12 and 15 gravestones in West Bowling cemetery were struck by the tree, which was described as being the size of a four-storey building.

Salauddin Mustafa discovered the damage when visiting the cemetery yesterday.

Mr Mustafa, from Heaton, said the graves affected were in the Muslim section of the cemetery and included his grandfather's headstone.

"From what I could see, one headstone was badly damaged, and because of the size of the tree it has covered a lot of graves.

"Some are completely broken and some have been knocked, about 12 to 15 graves have been damaged, and are some of the oldest graves in this section of the cemetery," he said.

"They are from the late 1980s and early 90s, when this section started, including my grandad's which was damaged, it was knocked to the side but we managed to fix it.

"Where the tree is covering the graves, branches have pierced the soil and some have gone about a foot into the ground.

"I think it fell at some point on Saturday, because I remember there being thunder and lightning, and while it is lucky no one has been injured. I'm sure it has evoked a lot of emotion in the community.

"The tree is massive, you couldn't lift it without machinery; it is probably the size of a three or four storey building, and the section which has fallen down is probably about the size of a two-storey building."

Mr Mustafa notified Bradford Council about the incident this morning and was told someone would visit the cemetery today.