Plea made to respect island cemetery

Rabbits are getting back in through cut meshing to make a mess in the cemetery, diging holes

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Islanders are being asked to ‘grass’ on a mystery mesh-snipper letting nuisance rabbits back into a cemetery on Islay.

Argyll and Bute Council is urging anyone who knows who is responsible to tell the police.

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has also expressed concern at the distress being caused to the relatives of people buried at Kilnaughton Cemetery because of the rabbits that are digging under graves.

Mr Cameron said: ‘I have been contacted by a number of people who are, frankly, dismayed by the impact rabbits are having on the burial ground.

‘Despite the best efforts of council staff, who have sought to fence the cemetery off with rabbit-proof mesh, the mesh is being cut, which is allowing the rabbits back in.’

He added: ‘The result is paths are being damaged and floral tributes destroyed. I find it extraordinary anyone would deliberately interfere with attempts to keep rabbits out of the cemetery and urge whoever is responsible to desist.

‘Places of rest should be respected, as should the feelings of family members who wish to visit the graves of their loved ones.’

Kintyre and Islands councillor Alastair Redman has also been contacted by upset families. ‘This is an issue the community really cares about. I do hope the council staff will be allowed to do their job, keep the cemetery safe and just as visitors would hope to find it,’ he said.

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute council said: ‘Our team on Islay has worked hard to protect Kilnaughton Cemetery from rabbits burrowing in from the neighbouring area. It is shameful if someone is adding to the distress of families by deliberately cutting the mesh put there to shield graves.

‘We have reinstated the mesh and are using humane traps to catch the rabbits. If anyone has any information about who has vandalised the mesh, please get in touch with us or the police. We would also ask people to help by making sure the gate is shut when visiting the cemetery.’