A WORKER collecting bins has been sacked after accidentally destroying two cemetery memorials – almost cracking one tombstone in half – while behind the wheel of a refuse truck.
The firing of the unnamed contractor, working on behalf of Harrow Council, came after Richard Symonds, of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, spotted the damage on Tuesday, January 14 while visiting Pinner New Cemetery, in Pinner Road, Pinner, where his late partner is buried.
He was concerned to see tyre tracks had caused havoc on the burial site, splitting one grave almost in half.
He said: “It looked as if someone had got into a vehicle blind drunk and just rampaged through the place without a care in the world.
“I just could not believe it when I saw it. It was distressing to see and you can only imagine the hurt this would cause a family member who is laid to rest here.”
He then wrote to Harrow Council’s cemetery team to urge them to take action.
Mr Symonds said: “I have concerns about this kind of thing happening again, especially as my late partner’s stone is due to be laid in a few months time, and her father’s memorial is quite close by, bordering on the same verges.
“I think the families of these two memorials should be informed without delay and the police notified of the criminal damage that has been wreaked.”
Maintenance staff later informed him that they had previously been made aware of the vandalism and an investigation was already under way.
A Harrow Council spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately this damage was caused by an agency worker who was driving a refuse truck at the time. The driver was emptying trade waste bins at the cemetery on January 14.
“Instead of reversing up to the bins as directed, they drove around a narrow pathway and when taking a corner drove over the grass hitting the gravestones.
“The driver was employed on an occasional basis since October 2013. However, his contract was immediately terminated following this incident. We are deeply sorry for the upset this incident has caused.”
Harrow Council’s public realm team are now working to repair the damage caused.