THE cost of replacing a pair of historic gates at Nelson Cemetery, which were demolished when a stolen mechanical digger went out of control, will have to be met by Pendle Council.

The cost of moulding new gates would cost £30,000, although a cheaper alternative would be to fabricate a set at a cost of around £13,500.

The council's Nelson area committee will be asked to find the money for the second option tonight.

The cast iron gates were damaged in October 1997 when someone broke into the mechanical digger, which was being used to carry out work in the cemetery, and drove it into them.

A stone pillar, a pedestrian gate and the main gate were all demolished.

The gates were classed as listed buildings because of their historic interest.

The council was not insured against the damage and lengthy investigations by legal officers found the authority would not be likely to obtain damages if legal proceedings were taken against the digger's owner.

Making and installing the replacement gates is expected to take two or three months.

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