Mass graves are being dug in Chislehurst for Muslim victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

The plots, which are for up to ten bodies, are being dug at Kemnal Park Cemetery to cope with the large number of deaths in the Islamic community.

Islamic burials traditionally take place within 24 hours of death.

Funeral directors have claimed they have as many as 50 people waiting to be buried, with some families waiting up to two weeks.

The mass graves, known as ‘saff graves’, are being dug at the Eternal Gardens Muslim Burial Ground which forms part of the Kemnal Park cemetery.

South London boy Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, who at 13 is thought to be Britain’s youngest victim of coronavirus, was buried in an individual ceremony at the cemetery last week.

Richard Gomersall, the ground's special projects manager, told the Mail the cemetery "simply cannot keep up with demand".

Mr Gomersall said: ‘We are in unprecedented times and sadly, we anticipate that the number of deaths is only going to increase each day so we need to have funerals that can be done quickly in accordance with Islam.

"That is a priority for us at the moment.’

He insisted each body would have its own individual funeral, which can be attended by up to 10 mourners, in accordance with government guidelines.

He added: "Funerals will take place in quick succession and in accordance with full Islamic practice. We will not be cutting any corners.

"We are just speeding up the process of staging Muslim funerals by having saff graves.’

"I know this will be shocking for some people, but we are not trying to cover anything up.

"We are one of only two dedicated Muslim burial grounds in London and have a high proportion of people waiting to be buried here who have died from coronavirus."