The company in charge of maintaining the rubbish bins in Merton cemeteries has been forced to apologise after they were left in a "heartbreaking" state.

Eileen King and her husband went to Merton and Sutton Cemetery last week and were appalled to find the state the bins had been left in.

"The rubbish bins are an utter disgrace," she said.

"They are rarely emptied and as a result rubbish is left beside the bins and litter is blown across what should be a clean and peaceful spot.

"It is heartbreaking to see such disrespect for the families of the bereaved who visit their deceased loved ones at the cemetery."

A few days after issuing a complaint, the bins were emptied.

But Mrs King believes more can be done to prevent this happening again.

"Part of the problem is the design of the bins themselves," she said.

"Prior to the purchase of these inadequate bins with small entry slots, there were large, wide, wire mesh baskets which were more practical but again if not emptied, the contents were scattered about by the wind.

"There has to be a more sensible solution, the obvious one is to empty the bins regularly.

"Maybe consideration given to using volunteers to help. Whatever the solution, something needs to be done and urgently."

Merton Council’s cemetery and grounds maintenance services are provided by an organisation called Idverde.

The company apologised for the incident and vowed to do better in the future.

A spokesperson for the company said: “Idverde regrets that a breakdown in communication between our rubbish removal teams led to a build-up of waste in bins at Merton and Sutton Cemetery.

"This has been addressed and better communications channels put in place to prevent a reoccurance.

"Idverde apologises for any distress caused to visitors to the cemetery, we know this is a sensitive site and we won’t let this happen again.”