FIFE Council will continue safety inspections of headstones in sections of cemeteries including which will be continued from the original inspections that took place in Inverkeithing and Cupar cemeteries.

Headstones found to be unsafe or in need of repair will be labelled and next of kin will be contacted. The Inspection Team will make headstones safe on a temporary basis while the council contacts the headstone owners to inform them of the need to repair the headstone.

Temporary repairs include erecting and securing the headstone to a post, or fencing off areas until they are made safe. Only where absolutely necessary, and as a last option, will a headstone be laid flat for safety reasons.

Liz Murphy, Service Manager, Bereavement Services, said: “Fife Council has a duty of care to provide a safe environment in each of our 115 cemeteries and churchyards for both the public who visit them and council staff who work there.

“Where a headstone is found to be unsafe, lair owners will be contacted in writing and a sign attached to the headstone advising that there is an issue with its stability.

“Fife Council does not have the right or the responsibility to make repairs to headstones, should the lair holder not make contact within the designated timescale, temporary safety precautions may be taken. These include ‘trenching in’ the headstone or, if necessary, laying the headstone flat to ensure safety. If a large area of unstable headstones is identified, the council will cordon off the surrounding area until the area can be made safe.”

Liz added: “It would be helpful if local people could keep their contact details up to date, so that they can be easily notified of any changes.”

“I urge members of the public to be respectful in and around cemeteries and graveyards and also to report any concerns regarding cemetery safety to Fife Council.”

The council will place signs at the entrance to those cemeteries or churchyards where inspection work is underway to raise awareness of these inspections.