"In February 2008, after extensive local consultation, the Parish Council agreed a new set of Management Rules for the Parish Burial Ground.
"The rationale behind the revised rules was to make clear the basis on which interments were to be undertaken, including broad requirements as to the size and shape of memorials (which have to be approved by the Council) and more specifically the quantity and type of memorabilia permitted on a grave. In essence the rules permit a single vase to be placed within the memorial tablet (i.e. on the plinth of the gravestone).
"In part this requirement is to assist in the maintenance of the burial ground; additionally it provides for a well laid out neat appearance, a factor which the majority of villagers and visitors to the graveyard have indicated is of importance. In this, the Council is following the practice of many councils who are responsible for graveyard management.
"The new rules were widely publicised and relatives of all deceased persons interred since the rules were introduced have been required to confirm that they have read and understand the rules. This aspect forms part of the discussions between relatives and the funeral director.
"With regard to the specific case of Ryan Hides the burial took place some 18 months ago and the family did at the time sign the required form indicating that they agreed to adhere to the same. Unfortunately throughout that period the number and variety of items on the grave has been extensive and clearly contrary to the Council’s requirements for the proper management of the burial ground.
"As a result the Council has written to the family on four occasions in an attempt to resolve the situation amicably. In addition a meeting between them and representatives of the Council has taken place, when it was made clear that the situation needed to be addressed.
"The matter was further considered by the full Council at its meeting on the 17 March, when the sensitive nature of such matters formed an integral part of the discussion. However, Councillors were conscious of how long this matter had been under consideration and concluded that removal of the items would be necessary
"Following that meeting a letter to the family was sent giving them a further month in which to arrange for the removal of the relevant items. In all the circumstances, the Council believes that it has acted both fairly and reasonably but naturally regrets the additional suffering that this subject has inevitably caused the family."