MOURNERS have been urged to think about what they place in coffins with their loved ones after items including mobile phones, a bottle of champagne and a coconut ‘exploded’ at a crematorium.

Staff at Overdale Crematorium have been surprised by several unusual items in recent months that have caused problems during the cremation process.

These have included golf balls, mobile phones, bottles of vodka, whisky or champagne and, in one case, a coconut.

Donna Ball, assistant director community services at Bolton Council, said she sympathised with the families but said the items exploding are causing damage to the brickwork in the crematorium as well as issues with the emissions.

She said: “It is a time honoured thing that people put memorials in coffins and that is absolutely fine.

“But it used to be only things like photographs — things that would not cause so much of a problem.

“A little while back at the crematorium, somebody put a coconut in the casket and it exploded. We have had other things like e-cigarettes and even mobile phones, which are really problematic because of the batteries.

“Sometimes people might slip in a mobile phone in someone’s jacket. We have had some pretty unusual things like golf balls, which can explode quite badly.

“We also have people putting in litre bottles of vodka and whisky as well as a bottle of champagne.

“It is affecting the emissions from the cemetery when people put technical equipment in there.

“And these items are just exploding and the problem is that the crematorium is made with bricks. So the explosions are damaging the brickwork.

“So we are asking people to work with the funeral directors and make sure things do not go in that should not go in.”

She wanted to make clear that it is obviously not an issue when people are being buried.

And she reiterated that she understood the sentiment but asked people to take care with what they place in the coffins heading to the Heaton facility. Ms Ball added: “I know crematoriums up and down the country are having similar problems.

“I know people love their technical appliances. People are fond of things like their phones and I know in some cases they want to be buried or cremated with whatever is special to them.

“We really understand the sentiment, but we just want to ask people to speak with their funeral directors about what they are planning on placing in the coffin.”