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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Human remains dumped on tip
The former Wesleyan cemetery at Cheetham Hill
A shopping centre is to be built on the cemetery site
Human remains dug up by contractors working on a cemetery in Manchester have been found on a public tip.

An investigation is under way after bone was spotted at a landfill site at Beal Valley in the Heyside area of Oldham.

Specialist contractors were called in to move the remains from the Wesleyan graveyard in Cheetham Hill, to make way for a 20m shopping centre.

Manchester City Council says that the bones must have been taken away with waste soil near the graveyard, to be dumped at the landfill site.

It says it told the contractors when work began that remains might have moved and now lie outside the burial ground.

Beal Valley landfill site, Oldham
The remains were discovered at the Beal Valley site
It is understood that they have now been returned to the contractors to be reburied.

Relatives of the dead who were buried in the yard have already complained that remains were not being treated with proper dignity and respect.

The Wesleyan graveyard was used to bury 20,000 people up to the early 1970s.

After the site was sold to developers North West Estates, the council promised that all bodies would be reburied in Bury.

The two companies involved at the cemetery site, North West Estates and the project managers Reay and Co, say they are unable to make any official comment until they know more details.

'Full investigation'

The deputy leader of Manchester City Council, Martin Pagel, who represents Cheetham, said he was shocked at the discovery.

"I am absolutely devastated that this has happened," he told BBC North West Today.

"A full investigation is underway. I have launched an investigation through the council and the developers are having their own investigation."

Mr Pagel had previously given a commitment that the remains would be treated with dignity.

"The procedures which should have been followed should have made sure that happened," he added.

"What we need to do is find out why that was not the case.

"The developers have to ensure that people's remains are treated with respect. I want an explanation as to how this could possibly have happened."

He promised the investigation would be open and the findings made public.




SEE ALSO:
Bodies may be exhumed for mall
11 Oct 02  |  England


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