SAFETY inspections will begin in Inverkeithing cemetery amid fears headstones could topple over and cause injury or death. 

The checks at the Hope Street facility start next week and will be followed by visits to all of the graveyards in Fife. 

In 2015, an eight-year-old boy died in Glasgow after a memorial fell on him and Fife Council said that some headstones may need to be laid flat if they pose a danger.

Liz Murphy, manager in bereavement services, said: “Fife Council has a duty of care to provide a safe environment in each of our 115 cemeteries and churchyards for both the public who visit them and council staff who work there.

“We are undertaking these initial surveys to help us to scope out the work that’s likely to be required across Fife. 

“Inspections will be undertaken by fully-trained staff.”

Fife Council is responsible for 115 cemeteries and more than 100,000 lairs. 

During the inspections, any headstones found to be unsafe or in need of repair will be labelled and next of kin contacted. 

They will be made safe on a temporary basis while the council contacts the headstone owners.

Temporary repairs include erecting and securing the headstone to a post or fencing off areas until they are made safe. 

She added: “Where a headstone is found to be unsafe, lair owners will be contacted in writing and a sign attached to the headstone advising that there is an issue with its stability.

“Fife Council does not have the right or the responsibility to make repairs to headstones, and should the lair holder not make contact within the designated timescale, we will ‘trench in’ the headstone or, if necessary, lay the headstone flat to ensure safety. 

“If a large area of unstable headstones is identified, the council will cordon off the surrounding area until the area can be made safe.”

Ms Murphy said they were raising awareness about the safety checks and asking locals who have relatives in the cemetery to get in touch. 

This is to ensure that any lairs/ headstones are made safe and meet the requirements of relatives.

Councillor John Wincott, spokesperson for the environment, explained: “Local people can help us by keeping their contact details up to date and by reporting any concerns.

“I urge visitors to please be respectful in and around cemeteries and graveyards, and this includes staying on the footpaths and supervising children at all times.”

Signs will be placed at the entrance of cemeteries and churchyards where inspection work is under way.