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Homeless SLEEPING inside graves at Cambridge cemetery after pushing stones off the top of tombsFamilies of those buried there want to see the troublemakers were removedSquatters seen drinking in graves and letting their dogs run wildThey were also accused of intimidating schoolchildren nearby
08:11 GMT, 1 January 2013
Homeless drug users were seen pushing the stones off the top of tombs and using them as beds for the night.
Horrified passers-by spotted the disrespectful squatters sitting in the graves in Mill Road Cemetery, Cambridge, while injecting themselves and drinking.
The site has been plagued by drunkenness,
littering, drug taking and reports of the homeless people defecating on the plots over recent months.
Callous: The squatters were seen sitting up in graves while drinking and injecting themselves with drugs
In a statement for Cambridgeshire
Police, PC Alan Tregilgas said: 'It is not unusual to find drunken
persons sleeping in this area and in some cases tombstone lids have been
pushed off so they can sleep inside.
'One resident said she was shocked
when she saw a male sitting on a grave with his trousers down injecting
himself in his thigh in full view of everyone.'
Families of those buried at the site have demanded that the homeless be removed from the graveyard in the famous university city.
Cambridgeshire Police are considering
taking action against nearby shops accused of fuelling the anti-social
behaviour be selling alcohol to the louts.
Sickened: Families of those buried in Mill Road Cemetery have demanded that the troublemakers are prevented from dragging the stones off tombs, littering and damaging the site
Residents say they now avoid the
graveyard, once regarded as a local beauty spot, and take the longer
route around it because they feel it is unsafe.
Street drinkers, many of them homeless, have also been accused of intimidating pupils at a nearby St Matthew’s Primary School.
PC Alan Tregilgas said there were also concerns over homeless people damaging the site and allowing vicious dogs to run free.
The shocking sightings come as latest figures show an increase of 23 per cent in those sleeping rough in the UK for 2010-11.
Gail Marchant-Paisley, a city
councillor for the Petersfield area of Cambridge, said problems with
anti-social behaviour in the cemetery were long-standing but seemed to
be getting worse.
Intimidating behaviour: Locals said they were now afraid of walking through what used to be a Cambridge beauty spot
'There is great concern for those residents whose houses back on to the cemetery,' she said.
'I have heard residents say that
people are sleeping in the tombs, which may be linked to an increase in
the number of homeless in the city.'
Cambridgeshire police have spoken out
about the problems in a bid to ban alcohol sales at a local shop, which they claim is a magnet for troublemakers.
They say drinkers visit the shop, then access the cemetery via an alleyway opposite.
The police will present evidence to city councillors a week today, when they will
decide whether to revoke the shop’s licence.