A COUNCILLOR says a fire at a city cemetery was started deliberately.

Fifteen square metres of bushes and trees were set alight at St John’s Cemetery in Mcintyre Road, Worcester on Sunday night, which led to families fearing graves of loved ones may be damaged.

Richard Udall, a St John’s city councillor, said: “The fire was started in the dog poo bin and has destroyed about 30 per cent of the trees. A bench in the cemetery and a few pots and plants were also destroyed.

“The bench will be replaced and any damaged property will be repaired. The gravestones covered in ash will be cleaned.

“The trees survived the fire, but will be cut back and reduced in size.

“The entire burnt parts of the trees will be removed.

“New hedging will be planted to replace what has been lost, they don’t want to remove the remaining trees as they will recover and will continue to provide privacy for people visiting the cemetery.

“It looks like it was started deliberately – poo bins do not normally spontaneously combust.

“I have asked for a review of street lights in Meco alley to ensure they are all working.

“Work is due to start soon on the housing construction and the new park. Hopefully this will improve usage and be a deterrent against future vandalism.”

Previously a spokesman for the fire service said: “We were called at 10.55pm (on Sunday) to a fire in Mcintyre Road.

“The fire was in the cemetery, no graves were damaged but some plantpots and areas around graves caught alight.

“Firefighters tackled the blaze with two jets and a hose reel.

“They came away from the scene at 11.30pm and do not feel they need to return to assess the area again.”

A spokesman for the Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service added yesterday they had not been able to confirm the cause of the fire.