A County Durham homeowner has been accused of desecrating a cemetery by knocking down part of its ancient boundary wall to facilitate his house extension.
Charles Ryan, 71, of Quebec, Co Durham removed an 11ft stretch of stone wall separating his garden from the cemetery. But he did it without planning permission – or even any discussion – and now local residents are outraged and led in their ire by the local vicar.
Rev Michael Peers said: “It appears that a section of churchyard stone wall has been demolished to make way for construction of the building.
“In addition, a drainpipe drains directly into the churchyard. Both of these developments required permission from the Parochial Church Council but no permission has been asked for.
“The building work was undertaken in such a cavalier way and with no respect for those who are buried in the churchyard. It is deeply distressing.”
Ryan a former concrete firm boss, insisted the issue was “a storm in teacup”.
He claimed the wall was his to demolish and denied damaging graves and has now submitted a planning application.