Residents takeover maintenance of Dumfries graveyard after "waiting weeks" for council to clear up

  • Watch James Mahon's report here

Relatives of loved ones buried in a Scottish cemetery have taken over maintenance "after waiting weeks" for the local council to clear it up. 

Around a dozen residents of New Abbey, south of Dumfries, are bringing their own shears and mowers three times a week. 

Resident Jane Grey said the state of the site left her "heartbroken". She said: "I have got my late dad here, a lot of family here, you come and I feel sorry for other people who can't come. It's just heartbreaking. We are lucky we live close and cut our grass but that is not the point, a lot of people come down for Father's Day and were disappointed when they saw the state of the graveyard."

A volunteer tidies the gravesite at Sweetheart Abbey Credit: ITV News

Sweetheart Abbey and its graveyard in the south of Scotland is more than 700 years old.

Historians, Nobles and war heroes are buried there, along with generations of families from New Abbey and nearby Kirkcudbrightshire.

The team of volunteers is mostly made up of local pensioners who use shears, scissors and lawn mowers to try and tackle the grass and weeds - but they feel the local council should be helping.

Volunteer Christine Stenton said, "They are just not keeping it the way they should be, they say it's cutbacks but it's just terrible."

Local residents are using their own equipment to maintain the site Credit: ITV News

In a statement, Dumfries and Galloway Council said:

"The grass was cut approximately 6 weeks ago and the team are due back this week, unfortunately the Council's teams have been behind schedule this year with ground maintenance due to resourcing issues, however are proactively now trying to get back on schedule."

Similar issues have been reported at cemeteries in Dalbeattie and Kirkbean.