Home chevron_right Births, deaths, and marriages chevron_right Cemeteries and crematorium chevron_right Rules and safety

Rules and safety

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:

  • Show respect for the grounds and other visitors, and keep your voice at a normal volume.
  • Put rubbish in the bins provided, or take it home with you.
  • Keep dogs on a lead at all times, and pick up (and properly dispose of) any dog poo.
  • Items placed on traditional graves must not be placed outside of the kerb set area (7ft x 3ft). Items placed on lawn graves must not encroach on the lawn area.
  • We can remove items placed outside of the grave area, or which go against our rules, without telling you first.
  • 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.
  • 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.

All of our cemeteries are compliant with the Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977. A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) is in place in all of our cemeteries to stop anti-social behaviour and keep visitors and staff safe.

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.

Items which are not allowed


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 tranquillity 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).

Public spaces protection order


A public spaces protection order (PSPOs) is in place in our cemeteries to protect the public and our staff. If you break the rules of the PSPO, you may be prosecuted.

When in our cemeteries:

  • You must keep dogs on a lead (with a maximum length of 2 metres) at all times, and remove all dog poo immediately.
  • You must not use, or encourage others to use, threatening, insulting, or abusive words or behaviour.
  • You must not gather in a group of more than three people where the group's behaviour causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm, or distress.
  • You must not be drunk, drink alcohol, or bring in open containers of alcohol.
  • You must not be under the influence of drugs, or bring in any drugs (except medicine prescribed by a medical professional).
  • You must not threaten, intimidate, or use violence against, any other person.
  • You must not light a fire or attempt to light a fire, or encourage any other person to light, or attempt to light, a fire.

You can read the full PSPO for cemeteries for more information.

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 check the cemetery rules of management or contact Bereavement Services.