"IT'S disgusting."

Loved ones paying their respects in a North Baddesley cemetery say they are being made to feel 'unwelcome' after photographs and other items left on graves have been removed.

St John the Baptist Church has limited flowers on the graves to one vase only in order to keep the graveyard 'safe and accessible'.

Items have been taken from graves by members of the church and relatives have been told to collect them or they will be thrown away.

'More than one hundred' people in the village who have friends and family buried there, say the actions are disgusting.

Trevor Hobbs, 74, lost his daughter Karen 14 years ago in a car accident, and says he prides himself on making sure her grave in the cemetery has fresh flowers every week.

Trevor said: "My wife and I always want Karen's grave to look as fresh and loved as we can, we pride ourselves on the fact that it has fresh flowers every week.

"Now we can only put one vase on, and everyone has been told they can only have one item per grave. I understand that some items can make it look like a fairground, but this isn't right, it's disgusting.

"There must be about one hundred of us, and it's hugely upsetting. They have gathered up the belongings and lined them up by a wall from people's graves."

The decision to limit items is in the interest of accessibility and safety, say those in charge of the actions of the church.

Part of the Diocese of Winchester, the one church council member said that it follows a notice first placed in November last year.

Mark West, a member of the parochial church council, said: "In November last year, signs were placed in the church and the churchyard advising visitors that important maintenance works would be taking place, and asking families to remove from gravesides, any items not permitted by Church of England regulations.

"These signs made clear which items were and were not permitted to be displayed. Following this notice, at the beginning of this year, a number of remaining items were moved to a location within the churchyard for safekeeping and we have encouraged families to collect anything they would like to keep.

"It is important that all families be able to pay their respects to loved ones who are buried here, and we want to make sure that the historic churchyard is kept safe and accessible for everyone who wants to visit."

Following the complaints of residents, the church will be holding a public meeting at All Saints Church on April 18 from 7.30pm.