Mourners have been left “dismayed” after discovering their loved ones’ headstones were unknowingly pulled down by the council. 

During a recent visit to her in-laws' graves at Redenhall churchyard in south Norfolk, Barbara Pearce found that stones had been “flattened” without warning. 

The retiree of Pulham St Mary said: “We were dismayed to find the headstone had been flattened, along with eight or nine others. 

Diss Mercury: Barbara and Philip Pearce at Philip's parents grave now repaired, where the headstone had been

“We originally thought it might have been vandalism, but apparently not. 

“And the advance notice that we should have received was found under the felled stone.” 

READ MORE: 'Unauthorised' headstones ruin family's final wishes

The couple were not alone in their surprise. 

Louise Earl, 62, of Beccles, discovered the same thing had happened at her grandparents' graves. 

Diss Mercury: The notice placed with the headstones deemed unsafe and pushed over, at Redenhall Church

Mrs Earl, whose mother is buried in a different part of the churchyard, first became aware of the situation after receiving a message from her friend while on holiday. 

A medical secretary, she said: “I was away at the time and my friend sent me a photo. I thought ‘oh gosh’. 

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“We have since tried to contact the council about next steps but haven’t had a response yet. 

“This area of the graveyard really is looking terrible at the moment.” 

Diss Mercury: Two of the headstones deemed unsafe and pushed over, at Redenhall Church

Mrs Pearce, and her husband Philip Pearce, 65, have since had the gravestones repositioned. Prior to the work being done, one stonemason had quoted them in excess of £300. 

And while some of the other bereaved affected have done the same, a handful of headstones remain flat on the ground. 

A spokesperson for the council said: “As a decommissioned graveyard, the council is responsible for the maintenance and safety of the site.  

Diss Mercury: One of the headstones appears to have been broken when it was pushed over, at Redenhall Church

“Our officer worked with the rector to check the safety of the memorials that were accessible. 

“Those found to be unsafe through a simple push test were very carefully lowered to the ground to reduce the immediate risk of anyone sustaining an injury. 

“Where the identities of the owners were known, the rector made contact straight away and in all other cases notes were left explaining the reasons for the action.” 

Diss Mercury: Two of the headstones deemed unsafe and pushed over, at Redenhall Church