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Rules and safety

Items which are not allowed on graves


The following items are not allowed in our cemeteries:

  • banners, balloons, bunting, flags
  • wind-chimes
  • scarecrows or 'scary' figures like ghosts, or other mannequins and associated items
  • alcohol containers or items
  • artificial lighting, audible devices or toys, or other electronic items
  • battery- or solar-power devices or ornaments
  • garden ornaments, features, or furniture, including water features, benches, chairs, etc.
  • animal habitat (for example, enclosures for wildlife like hedgehogs) or feeders (for example, bird feeders)
  • trellising, pergolas, gazebos, etc.
  • lawn edging, artificial turf, gravel, or other aggregates (stones, chippings, etc.)
  • canvas prints, artwork, or sculptures
  • horticultural items like plants, shrubs, or trees, which can impact memorials, access to graves, cemetery maintenance, and the overall look of the cemetery

Some of these items may be allowed in our baby grave sections, if you have our permission first. Contact Bereavement Services to find out more.

We will remove any item or embellishment (whether listed above or not), which we think is inappropriate, excessive, or offensive, or which may impact on the maintenance, appearance, or tranquility of the cemetery. We will also remove items which extend outside the grave area, or which cannot be placed on a specific grave type (for example, woodland graves).

Cemetery rules


Rules are in place in our cemeteries for the comfort and safety of both visitors and our staff. When you visit one of our cemeteries, please be aware of the following rules:

Please be mindful of the following (but not limited to) rules and regulations within our cemeteries:

  1. Items placed on traditional graves must not be placed outside of the kerb set area (7ft x 3ft).
  2. Items placed on lawn graves must not encroach on the lawn area.
  3. We can remove items placed outside of the grave area, or which go against our rules, without telling you first.
  4. Headstones and memorials can only be installed by a council-approved memorial mason. The registered owner is responsible for maintaining the headstone or memorial. We're responsible for carrying out the necessary safety testing, and we'll take action if needed. This might involve laying the headstone flat for safety, or contacting the registered owner to deal with the problem.
  5. We have the right of access in our cemeteries and grounds, including access to, and across, graves. We have the right to access any area of the cemetery to prepare graves and carry out maintenance, including removing or moving items or memorials. When we're digging new graves, we may place soil on neighbouring graves. This is always done with full care and respect, and following cemetery rules and burial procedures. Members of the public are not allowed to stop our staff from carrying out their duties.

Middlesbrough Council are not liable for any loss, damage, incidents, or accidents which occur in our cemeteries and grounds. You may want to think about insurance cover for your headstone or memorial.

For more information about rules in Middlesbrough's cemeteries, contact Bereavement Services.

Public safety


The safety of our staff and members of the public is very important to us. The following rules apply to all our cemeteries (including the grounds of Teesside Crematorium) for your safety.

You must:

  • respect the grounds and other visitors, and keep your voice at a normal volume
  • keep dogs on a lead (with a maximum length of 2 metres) at all times
  • pick up, and properly dispose of, any dog poo
  • put rubbish in the bins provided, or take it home with you

You must not:

  • use threatening, insulting, or abusive words or behaviour, or encourage anyone else to do this
  • gather in a group of more than three people, where the group's behaviour causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm, or distress
  • be drunk, drink alcohol, or bring in open containers of alcohol
  • be under the influence of drugs, or bring in any drugs (except medicine prescribed by a medical professional)
  • threaten, intimidate, or use violence against, any other person, or encourage anyone else to do this
  • light a fire or try to light a fire, or encourage anyone else to do this

Any serious anti-social behaviour or threats to people's safety will be reported to the police or our enforcement team.

All of our cemeteries are compliant with the Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977.

Abusive behaviour


We take a zero-tolerance approach to abuse of our staff or members of the public.

We will take action if we think a visitor's behaviour is inappropriate, intimidating, harassing, abusive, or anti-social. This could include an initial warning, a final warning, and a banning order for at least a month.

We reserve the right to involve organisations like the police in cases of extreme, or repeated, bad behaviour. This could result in more serious action being taken, for example a criminal investigation, an application for a civil injunction, or a fine.

For more information about acceptable behaviour in cemeteries, please contact Bereavement Services.