Councils Not Liable For Grave Thefts

In recent months we have become aware of damage to and thefts from memorials in two of Liverpool’s cemeteries, Allerton and Everton. This is despicable behaviour but grave thefts are something local authorities are not liable for. It is the grave owners responsibility to arrange insurance cover against such acts. 

grave thefts

The incidents were obviously deeply upsetting for those visiting graves of their loved ones, only to find ornaments mindlessly smashed, or in some cases stone chippings taken. Whereas it is easy to ask what the council or police are doing to stop such acts, the reality of doing so is somewhat different. Cemeteries cover such a large area that even if the resources were available to have mobile patrols on site at all times, there remains opportunity for someone determined enough to commit the act. 

The logistics and cost of covering every plot with CCTV is far too prohibitive, not to mention intrusive on mourners. This means that those who are damaging or stealing items know that there is little chance of getting caught once they have done what they set out to. 

If your memorial or associated ornamentation is damaged in any way, the blow can be softened somewhat if you have insurance. This is something we recommend via Stoneguard Memorial Insurance, provides cover against theft and vandalism as well as a range of other problems, including storm and frost damage. Policies are available for as little as £6.20 a year.

Most local authorities will only accept liability for damage to memorials if negligence can be proven. When applying for permission to erect a memorial in any of Liverpool city council’s cemeteries, the applicant must declare whether or not they have accepted memorial insurance. The form is clear in that the council accepts no responsibility for any damage caused by vandalism or maintenance operations unless there is proven negligence. Therefore, we really do recommend you take out memorial insurance to cover against either wanton or accidental damage to your memorial.