RESIDENTS have slammed Bolton Council for failing to maintain local cemeteries during the coronavirus pandemic.

Susan Jeffs paid a visit to Heaton Cemetery last week, and was shocked to see how “overgrown” the area has become.

Posting a photo of the overgrowth to the ‘I belong to Bolton’ Facebook page, she said: “It’s been like this for four months. I rang the council and the only comment they made is that "there has been a pandemic on.

"But at my parents cemetery in Edgworth, which is ran by Blackburn Council, there’s not a blade of grass out of place."

Donette Gerrard added: “I go to Heaton Cemetery to the old part where the cenotaph is and my family grave.

"The grass is past knee height, and my sister and I are elderly and found it very hard to walk through - not even the pathways had been mowed and our trousers became very wet."

Ben Howell, who has family members buried at Heaton Cemetery, said: "I had a floral tribute made especially for my grandma and couldn’t put it on the grave because it’s so overgrown.

"They won't pay for proper maintenance so blame the pandemic.

"Ridgmont at Horwich has been a mess for years and recently I had to pay for someone to go and give it a good sorting out - it makes my blood boil.

Janet Bromilow added: "Tonge Cemetery is the same and the council response was the same. Right through last summer they kept it mown and strimmed - they also said staff had to socially distance.

"It's a very large cemetery so I'm sure they could be 20 metres apart never mind two. I'm not exactly sure what I pay council tax for."

A Bolton Council spokesperson said: “We have recently experienced some staffing issues which have impacted on the cemeteries maintenance schedule and resulted in a delay to the grass cutting in Heaton.

"In addition, grass has grown quickly in the last couple of weeks due to the weather conditions.

"The mobile team are in the cemetery all this week to bring the cemetery back up to standard.”