A WOMAN has been banned from laying artificials flowers at her parents’ graves after cemetery officials ruled that they were a “health and safety hazard”.

Betty Edwardson, 68, was devastated when she visited her parents’ grave at Whalley and Wiswell Burial Ground to find all the silk flowers she had laid had been ripped out and dumped in the bin.

Bosses at other East Lancashire cemeteries including Accrington, Pleasington, Blackburn and Darwen confirmed that they did not ban artificial flowers.

Mrs Edwardson said: “It’s totally ridiculous to say my flowers are a health and safety hazard.

"It is my plot and I have paid for it and therefore I should be allowed to put whatever I like on it.

“It was really upsetting as my daughter puts silk flowers there and it always looked beautiful.

"She’d even put real daffodil bulbs in underground but they were dug up and binned.

“By the time the cemetery officials had finished it looked like my parents’ grave had been vandalised.

"They even ripped flowers off children’s graves. It’s just awful.”

The cemetery, which has 500 graves, belongs to Whalley and Wiswell Parish Councils, but is managed by a committee.

Whalley councillor Joyce Holgate said she had received a number of calls from distressed relatives including a mother who had been laying flowers on the grave of her child.

She said: “I have a great deal of sympathy with the residents and I have spoken to many people who have been upset.

“I do feel sorry for them and we need to ask the commitee to have another look at the matter and find out how they made this decision.”

Clitheroe councillor Allan Knox said it was political correctness gone mad.

He said: “I think issues such as this need to be handled very delicately and all parties must sit down and discuss it and if they can come to some sort of compromise.

Susan Earnshaw, chairman of Whalley and Wiswell Joint Burial Committee, said the rules had always been enforced.

She said: “The safety of visitors and people working in the burial ground has to be considered.

"The burial ground is lawned, with the only marking of a grave being the memorial stone.

"I am aware of the emotive nature of removing items from the graves but now and again the place starts looking shabby and we have to know when to say stop.

"Metal and glass objects hidden in the grass are dangerous."