A man has spoken of his horror after being unable to find his grandparents’ graves at Plumstead Cemetery in Greenwich.

Andrew Sims, 51, went to the cemetery on Father’s Day to pay his respects to his much-loved grandparents and great-grandparents who are buried there but was “shocked and appalled” to find that the cemetery was so overgrown he could not even identify their graves, let alone reach them.

Andrew, who lives in Bexley, said that not only is he being prevented from visiting his relatives, but it is also a health and safety hazard trying to walk around the cemetery.

Andrew said: “When I got there I stopped in my tracks – I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

“It looked like an apocalyptic scene.

“I genuinely couldn’t find my grandparents graves.

“I was absolutely shocked rigid.”

A spokesperson for Greenwich Council said that the grass at the cemetery is cut regularly, but that delays can occur due to resource issues.

However, Andrew said: “How can they not have enough funds to look after the cemetery?

“It’s really disrespectful and disgraceful.

“Greenwich Council have a duty of care to the public to look after the cemetery, especially when we pay burial fees.

“Somebody at the council needs to be held accountable.”

Andrew’s grandparents have been buried in Plumstead Cemetery for 34 years, along with 187 Commonwealth war heroes and two former Woolwich mayors who have been buried and memorialised there.

Andrew added: “My grandfather wouldn’t have wanted his wife to be left in rack and ruin like this.

“My relatives were good people and I just wanted to go and see them but I’m being prevented.

“I feel really angry – it’s so dangerous, I actually stepped down a hole.”

A spokesperson for Greenwich Council said: “We operate 6-8 week grass cutting frequency in the five Royal Borough cemeteries between April to September.

“The team in Plumstead Cemetery are on schedule and are now mid-way through their second cut.

“Delays can occur due to weather conditions or resource issues.

“Cutting is completed section by section in each cemetery and this is carried out on a continuous cycle, certain areas within the cemeteries for example where burials are taking place, are prioritised.

“Manoeuvring around the memorial stones means grass cutting in cemeteries has to be done very carefully and is labour intensive.

“This, combined with recent weather conditions accelerating the growth of the grass and vegetation, has meant members of the ground’s maintenance team working additional hours to try to manage the cutting.

“Additional staff are currently being recruited to work in the cemeteries across the borough.

“At Plumstead Cemetery we have dedicated conservation areas, established for over 10 years, to increase biodiversity and encourage wildlife.

“These sections are cut once a year.

“Details of the schedules can be found here."

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