THE family of an Accrington grandfather who died last year have been left heartbroken after a council works vehicle was driven over his grave.
Jonathan Purcell, of York Street, Accrington, is dem-anding an explanation from Hyndburn Council after the incident in Church and Clayton-le-Moors Cemetery last week, where his father, Harold Rudley, is buried. The 81-year-old war veteran died in June of heart failure.
His widow, Maureen Rudley, 60, discovered what had happened on one of her regular visits to the grave on Saturday, and the family complained to the cemeteries department.
A similar incident happened at the cemetery in July last year, when a bulldozer ran over the grave of Ellen Gallagher during a secret dawn operation to exhume a body that had been buried in the wrong place.
Mr Purcell, 26, said that the vehicle - which he believed to be a tractor - had left tracks and holes in the grass around the grave.
He said: "I just want an explanation as to why it was necessary. There is only one grave next to my dad's and the rest is just empty field. My mum was really upset and angry - she couldn't understand why anyone would do this, and it is the last thing she needs.
"I have spoken to the council and it said that somebody had been up there to sort it out, but when I went up that afternoon, it looked as though hardly anything had been done.
"They've filled in one of the holes and offered to put some kind of cover on my father's grave, but we're not happy. The council says that it takes good care of the cemeteries, yet it goes and does this to my father's grave. I will take this as far as I have to - my father didn't deserve this."
Mr Steve Todd, Hyndburn Council's head of environmental health, said: "We do have to carry out maintenance work at the cemeteries, and as part of the maintenance programme we may drive some pieces of equipment over the land. We have procedures in place to minimise this, but sometimes it is unavoidable. If there is any damage, we will restore it where practical, and we will look into it."