14/08/2014 16:52 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Grieving Relatives Fined For Having Too Many Flowers On Gravestones Without A 'Garden Permit'

Grieving relatives fined for having too many flowers on gravestones

A council has come under fire after handing out fines on gravestones because mourners' had too many pot plants for their floral tributes.

Several visitors to Alfreton Cemetery in Derbyshire found letters from Amber Valley Borough Council stating they had to pay for a garden permit because they had placed more than one pot plant at a gravestone.

The council 'grief tax' - either £52 or £87 depending on the plot size - left some cemetery visitors in tears.

One grieving mum, Emma Townsend, 33, found the warning at the grave for her seven-year-old daughter Abigail, who died from a brain tumour in 2010.

She told The Sun: "I presumed it would be something nice but as I walked over I saw it was a notice telling me the grave did not comply with cemetery rules.

"I was completely devastated. Whoever put it there surely still has humanity. They could see my daughter's face in the tributes.

"That place was sacred to the loved ones. The council have treated it like a car park."

The note tells people they need to buy council garden permits in order to have more than one pot on a grave.

It reads: "Additional items are placed on this grave, which unfortunately do not comply with the cemetery guidelines.

"It is necessary to apply for a garden permit or the items will be removed."

Another grieving relative, Rebecca Day, 37, cried when when she saw one as she visited her gran's plot.

She said: "It's disgusting."

Amber Valley Council defended the garden permits for Alfreton Cemetery in Derbyshire.

Simon Gladwin, assistant director of landscaping services, said plots at Alfreton cemetery cost £525, with garden permits costing £52 or £87 depending on the plot size.

He added: "The fee is levied as when someone puts a garden it makes it more difficult for the area to be maintained, and it increases the council's maintenance costs so it is a one off fee that we charge.

"You can't simply mow up and down rows when there are gardens there.

"The notice is relatively discreet. It is only an A5 notice saying the garden does not comply with standards and to call the officer to discuss it further."