Grieving relatives visiting a Leeds cemetery were stunned to find their heartfelt memorials had been removed without warning.
Mourners visiting Lawnswood Cemetery over the Easter weekend found that flowers and tokens had been cleared away from plots where ashes had been scattered and plaques put fitted to remember loved ones.
The YEP was contacted by a number of upset families, angry that they had not been given any notice during visits and had not received any letters or phone calls from workers at the Otley Road cemetery.
George Varley, 76, from Gipton visited Lawnswood on Good Friday, to visit a memorial to his wife Doreen, who died four years ago.
He told the YEP: “Five members of the family are remembered there and there we had put some things in there like a mirror and some vases as well as a cross for Remembrance Sunday.
“But when we went up there, they were all gone. Some of those things had sentimental value and had been put there by the grandchildren. There was no warning or notices saying who did this or why and was upsetting for the family.
“At nearly £500 for a little bit of grass about two foot square and a name plate, surely families deserve some consideration.”
Another distraught relative who contacted the YEP said they had visited a memorial to their mother over Easter to find tokens including a vase and balloon had been cleared away.
She said: “To my family this is equivalent to desecrating a grave. If someone ran through a cemetery and stole things from a grave there would be uproar. Our mum’s patch was not the only area affected, they seem to have had a total blitz.
“My family is totally devastated as that was our little haven of happiness where we can gather to remember.”
A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said it was “sorry” for the upset and items were not thrown away but left outside an office for collection.
She added: “We do have signs up at both entrances to the cemetery and throughout the grounds stating that items that are not permitted will be cleared away periodically to enable us to cut the grass and carry out other maintenance work.”