Leeds vicar’s anger as dogs sign erected on grave EXCLUSIVE

Father Ian Wright with the offending dog sign at St Bartholomew's Church, Armley. PIC: Mark Bickerdike
Father Ian Wright with the offending dog sign at St Bartholomew's Church, Armley. PIC: Mark Bickerdike
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A Leeds vicar has hit out at bungling bureaucrats after they erected a warning sign for dog walkers on top of a GRAVE.

Father Ian Wright, from St Bartholomew’s Church in Armley, Leeds, was left fuming after council workers placed the “insensitive” sign on a headstone near the main entrance.

The fuming clergyman ripped the sign out and complained to Leeds City Council.

He has now won an apology over the signpost saga – but says he is fed up of overzealous bye-law makers “riding roughshod” over church laws.

He said: “The sign was placed in front of the church door, on top of a grave. It was literally placed on the head of someone’s grave. It was quite insensitive.

“The area is consecrated land and does not fall under local council bye laws, it comes under ecclesiastical laws.

“If anybody wants to place any kind of sign on consecrated land they have to speak to the vicar first, who will then refer it to the parish.

“They will then seek the approval of the diocese advisory committee, the registrar and the Lord Chancellor.

“You cannot go onto that part of a church space and do what you want.

“Councils are always issuing directives and regulations.

“But they cannot ride roughshod over church laws.”

Fr Ian said he contacted the parks department at Leeds City Council, who apologised for the bungle.

Workers had been issued with broad instructions about general areas to place signs in, but not which spots to avoid.

Fr Ian added: “Apparently they just decided to go around sticking signs in willy-nilly.

“I ripped the sign out and it’s now in my porch.

“They could have contacted me. We would have been very amiable about it although we would have probably said no.

“But they infringed on the church laws. Hell hath no fury now. It’s totally unacceptable.”

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said: “Following extensive public consultation over concerns around dog dirt and loose dogs in cemeteries, the council has taken steps to introduce new controls.

“We have been installing signs informing the public to keep their dogs on leads in our cemeteries. Unfortunately some of these signs appear to have been installed in churchyards, which we apologise for.”

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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