A bungling motorist has been blasted as disrespectful for parking a car on top of a grave.
Horrifed onlookers said the thoughtless driver parked a Toyota Yaris on a plot after apparently failing to find a space in time for the ceremony for the 30-year-old.
They say the vehicle got lodged in the mud and had to be towed off, leaving damage to three graves and surrounding grass verges. The incident has forced the local council to consider introducing parking restrictions at the cemetery.
One eyewitness, a mourner at the funeral, said: “I couldn’t believe he was just parked there.
“The grave had sunk below it.
“It should be a lesson to others to show some respect.”
Police were contacted to assist with removal of the car in the incident but the car had been towed away by the time they arrived.
A Lancashire police spokesman said: “We were made aware of it and were on the way to removed the vehicle but it had already been removed when we got there.
“We will be speaking to the vehicle owner.”
Fr Timothy Lispcomb, Vicar of Preston, said: “I’ve never heard anything like it.
“That sacred space is very important to loved ones and perhaps we need to remind ourselves every single plot belongs to someone.
“That last resting place means a lot and we need to show respect.”
Preston Council, which manages the cemetery, said an “overwhelming” number of people had attended the funeral and two cars had damaged a patch of grass and graves with their tyres by trying to turn around within the cemetery grounds. The graves affected date back to the 1950s and 1880s.
Bosses said the damage will be repaired as soon as the weather improves and that steps had been taken to avoid a repeat.
Coun John Swindells, cabinet member for planning and regulation at the council, said of the incident, which happened on Thursday, January 3: “This was a very unfortunate incident caused by an overwhelming number of mourners attending the funeral of a popular young person.
“The people involved were very upset and apologetic by the damage caused.
“To prevent reoccurrence, the council is looking at introducing parking restrictions.”