Page last updated at 10:39 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Alex Salmond effigy hung in crematorium protest

Cemetery protest
The effigy was found by a pensioner visiting the cemetery

An effigy of First Minister Alex Salmond has been found hanging as part of a protest against the first crematorium in the Scottish Borders.

A pensioner visiting Wairds Cemetery near Melrose on Sunday called police believing it was a real body.

Last year the Scottish government decided not to call in plans for a crematorium at the site.

Police believe the incident may be linked to a vandal attack at Scottish Borders Council at the weekend.

Councillors approved the crematorium plans in November. It will become the first such facility in the region.

The grim protest was discovered at the site on Sunday morning.

This was desecration, pure and simple, especially on a Sunday which is the most popular day for people to pay respects to their departed loved ones
Robert Mathison
SBC burials officer

As well as the effigy it included a horse's skull mounted on a wooden cross, three dressed dolls in a makeshift grave and what appeared to be the draped figure of a human skeleton.

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said the elderly man who made the emergency call thought it was a real person hanging.

He said: "We treated this as a grade one call and officers were there within minutes.

"The man was badly shaken but officers quickly established the body was, in fact, a mannequin.

"Officers initially thought it was a prank but investigations showed it was more serious."

He added that they were now following a positive line of inquiry.

'Bizarre way'

The incident has been criticised by Robert Mathison, SBC's burials officer.

He said: "This was desecration, pure and simple, especially on a Sunday which is the most popular day for people to pay respects to their departed loved ones.

"To choose such a place for this kind of protest is utterly disgraceful as well as futile, especially as the democratic process has been fully followed and the crematorium decision has been made."

Council leader David Parker said it was a "bizarre way" of expressing dissatisfaction with the planning process.

"I personally didn't find it scary but some of our staff did and some of them have been upset and disturbed," he said.

"The body hanging from the tree is particularly upsetting.

"Whoever is responsible obviously objects to both the local and national planning processes and to the people involved and wants to vent their anger in this way."



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Eco graffiti attack on council HQ
22 Feb 10 |  South of Scotland
Crematorium clears final hurdle
24 Nov 09 |  South of Scotland
Crematorium bid receives approval
09 Nov 09 |  South of Scotland
Planners back crematorium scheme
05 Nov 09 |  South of Scotland
Presbytery backs crematorium bid
09 Oct 09 |  South of Scotland

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific