Page last updated at 18:32 GMT, Friday, 24 July 2009 19:32 UK

Catacombs could house flu victims

Old underground burial chambers in a Devon city could be used to store the bodies of swine flu victims if the outbreak worsens, a council has said.

Exeter City Council has identified the empty catacombs in Bartholomew Street as a potential mortuary.

A council spokesman said it could turn to the plan if the crematorium and cemeteries could not keep up with funeral demands.

The 19th century burial chambers are normally a tourist attraction.

An Exeter City Council spokesman said: "As part of our overall planning for a range of possible scenarios we have looked at what we might do should the current crematorium and cemeteries within the city not be able to keep up with the need for funerals.

"We have some empty catacombs in an old cemetery in the city, off Bartholomew Street.

"These are 19th century underground burial chambers which are normally a tourist attraction.

"They can however be safely used for their original purpose and allow us to temporarily store bodies in the remote possibility that the need should arise."

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