GRAVESTONES in Kidderminster cemetery could be laid flat by council workers if they are considered a danger to the public.

More than 4,000 memorials in the cemetery will be subjected to safety inspections over the next few months.

The inspections, by Wyre Forest District Council, are intended to determine if the memorials are dangerous and to see what repairs are needed to make sure the cemetery is safe.

Council chiefs say they have a duty to ensure the safety of the public in the cemetery, situated in 16 acres next to Brinton Park.

Burials on the site can be traced back to 1865, when the first took place in the older, non-conformist part of the cemetery.

If any of the gravestones are found to be unsafe in the opinion of council staff, they will be made safe by being laid flat.

Council officers will attempt to contact relatives of people buried in the graves affected to tell them about the problems found and ask that repairs required are carried out.

The upkeep of the graves is the responsibility of relatives and the bill for any work carried out will have to be picked up by them.

Councillor Marcus Hart, the council's deputy leader, said: "The safety checks are required under the Health and Safety Act and they will make the cemetery a safer place for everyone to visit.

"We appreciate that this is a sensitive issue and we will make every effort to contact those relatives who have memorials that are affected."

Permission to carry out the work on the consecrated sections of the cemetery has been granted by the diocesan registrar.

More information is available at the Cemetery Office, Park Lane, Kidderminster for 28 days from today.

The office is open from Monday to Friday between 9am and 10am.