UNAUTHORISED memorials could be removed from graves in Pendle.

The borough council’s policy and resources committee will discuss proposals to enforce cemeteries regulations amid what is described as a “growing problem” of memorials harming the aesthetic of lawned cemeteries at Barnoldswick, Barrowford, Colne, Earby, Nelson and Salterforth.

Corporate director Philip Mousdale said: “The longer these memorials are left, the more likely they are to become unsightly or dangerous. For some years now, flouting of regulations has increased significantly. Elaborate and substantial structures have been erected without permission, often discretely in the evenings and weekends.

“The result has been a creeping change to the character of our cemeteries, worsening standards of maintenance and an impossible situation for our staff who, when they attempt to enforce the regulations, frequently encounter a hostile reaction and sometimes verbal abuse."

If approved, people buying a plot will have to sign rules detailing what can be left.

Plants, flowers, small vases and items like cards, wreaths and small ornaments will be allowed as long as they are within 45 centimetres from the edge of the foundation.

Any items deemed a health and safety hazard, including all glass objects and any pointed fencing or railings will be banned.

Windmills and chimes which may disturb the peace and quiet of the cemetery would also be banned, as well as any item over a foot in height.

If the measures are approved, items flouting the rules would be removed by the council.