A grieving family is "disgusted" at the behaviour of management at Carpenders Park Lawn Cemetery after graves were stripped of ornaments and tossed into bin bags "like rubbish".
Flowers, tributes and pictures are among the items to have been rounded up and discarded behind buildings of the Oxhey Lane cemetery, much to the shock and anger of families.
Siobhan Groves, of Fairfield Avenue, South Oxhey, went to her family’s graves on Monday to tend the plots of her grandfather, grandmother and aunt.
Ms Groves went to the site with her 60-year-old mother on the anniversary of her grandmother’s burial.
Upon arrival, the 27-year-old discovered the area where her family lay, which had once been adorned with flowers, photos and readings, had been stripped bare.
When the family tried to track down the missing ornaments, they were handed a bin bag full of the items loved ones had left at the site in memory of those lost.
Ms Groves said: "When we arrived the plot was empty. I think it is disgusting. My disabled mother is in a state and you just don’t do that to someone. It’s wrong. I’m really angry.
"I went over to speak with the manager and told him the number of the plot and he said he would have to rummage through everything to find our stuff.
"I was disgusted then to get the gifts back broken like they meant nothing. They don’t care about people’s stuff and are treating it like it’s rubbish."
The mother-of-two said her grandfather has been buried at the cemetery for 37 years and the family had never experienced a problem with ornaments before.
She also said that seeing the empty plot came as a complete shock to the family who had not been told of the policy beforehand.
Ms Groves said: "There are many graves that are more than 80-years-old. I don’t know why there is an issue of it now. I can’t see the point of it.
"When we got here we expected it to be how we left it and there was nothing. It was a big shock. I just watched my mother crumble when she got here."
Brent Council, which runs the cemetery, defended the decision to remove the items.
Councillor Keith Perrin, lead member for environment, said: "Carpenders Park is a lawn cemetery where commemorative plaques are laid horizontally at ground level to maintain the look and feel of an open lawn.
"Our maintenance practice is to lay graves to lawn after an initial period of at least 18 months which allows people a period to mark the graves of loved ones with commemorative items should they wish.
"After this period we notify all grave owners to remove items as a practical measure to enable us to lay the graves to lawn.
"We laid over 300 graves to lawn recently and we informed the registered grave owners that items that they did not remove from the graves would be stored for one month. Those registered grave owners who have not collected their removed items will be written to again, to remind them to collect the items from the cemetery depot.
"In this instance we understand Ms Groves is not the registered grave owner."