People mourning dead relatives have condemned as 'disgraceful’ an overgrown cemetery which Merton Council claims is now a wildflower haven.

Ken Coales, 68, visits his aunt Edie Coales’ grave every few months to lay flowers and said he is disgusted to see the graveyard in a derelict state and overgrown.

Mitcham resident Nicholas Tudor said residents near the graveyard at St Peter and St Paul Church in Church Road, Mitcham, overlook an ‘overgrown disgrace with graves completely disappearing into the undergrowth.’

The church is also known as Mitcham Parish Church.

The graveyard is maintained by the council, which said in a statement the grass would be cut once the wildflowers have gone to seed.

Mr Coales, of Streatham Common, said: "It is desperately inappropriate to say that. "It is an excuse by the council to save money.

"It looks derelict - it’s disgusting. You can hardly see any graves, apart from the odd stone above the grass."

In a letter, Mr Tudor said the graveyard has now become a hazard for people.

He said: "There are graves that loved ones still bravely try to maintain and it makes the situation all the more pathetic and sad to see a child's grave standing alone beautifully cared for amongst the jungle surrounding it.

"It seems that the council have completely disowned this area including the trees which for several years have been left to become strangled by ivy and the perimeter hedges that at places are now so high that nearby residents are more vulnerable to burglary."

Merton Council cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration Councillor Andrew Judge said: "We are actively encouraging the creation of nature havens, including the reintroduction of wildflowers in areas across the borough and, once the flowers have gone to seed, we’ll cut the grass."

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