Gravediggers dumped a huge mound of earth on a woman’s grave, leaving her bereaved husband shocked when he went to visit her.

Stephen Badgery, 66, from Fullers Avenue in Tolworth, went to Merton and Sutton Cemetery on Sunday to visit his late wife, Hazel, who died last year of cancer caused by asbestos.

He discovered cemetery workers had left a pile of dirt, created by the excavation of another grave nearby, directly on top of his wife’s.

Mr Badgery said: “I feel disgusted. Nobody asked me or phoned me up.

“They said apparently that’s their policy that they do. That is not the issue. The issue is I went down there and found this building site.

“I put the plant of flowers right on top of this mound of earth.

“They should know it is Fathers’ Day – it could have been someone else’s dad.”

Wimbledon Guardian:

Mr Badgery’s son Stephen, 25, said dumping the earth there was disrespectful. He said: “I lost it. That can’t happen. I went down there and through my shock I couldn’t believe it myself.

“It doesn’t make sense. They have got so much space in front of the grave. I don’t see why they have to put it on someone’s grave.”

Merton Council, which runs the cemetery, said it was common practice for gravediggers to put soil from new graves “immediately adjacent” for a short time.

Councillor Andrew Judge, Merton Council's cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration, said: "We offer our sincere apologies to Mr Badgery and are very sorry if we have caused any distress to him and his family.

“It is important to us that the graves in our cemeteries are treated respectfully and with due care.”

Mr Badgery added: “It is ridiculous that councils do that. They should have a place where they can take the earth.”

Mr Badgery had been divorced from his wife, but they remarried as she lay in hospital last August. She died shortly after the ceremony was performed.