Gruesome find as foxes dig human bones from grave

FOXES are being blamed for digging up ancient bones at a city cemetery.

Residents living near Rosebank Cemetery, in Pilrig, discovered the gruesome damage while walking there at the weekend.

The city council said it was aware of the damage, and that its pest control team was monitoring the situation. However it is illegal to kill foxes by poisoning or snares.

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One resident, who asked not to be named, said he was shocked to see bones lying around.

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"We found a massive pile of sand and earth, and there were a couple of vertebrae and other bones lying there.

"It wasn't a nice sight to see. It looked quite eerie – it sent a shiver down my spine. It was one of the older graves from the 1860s that was affected.

"I think the council need to do something about it, although I know it can be difficult to keep foxes out."

Although the bones appeared to have been cleared away yesterday, a large fox hole and pile of earth were clearly visible next to one grave. Council workmen in the cemetery said the problem had been going on for several weeks.

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Harald Tobermann, a committee member of Pilrig Residents' Association, said many people had complained about foxes in streets and gardens in the area.

He said: "There are a lot of foxes in the area, because of the general rubbish problem that exists. They sometimes cause havoc in gardens, but it's a very different issue when it's in a cemetery.

"It's understandable that people are upset about it, as it is a very sensitive area. I understand that it's difficult for the council to deal with them, but they shouldn't just wash their hands of it.

"Urban foxes do need to be tackled – they're basically vermin, like rats."

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A city council spokesman said they were aware of the problem with foxes, but said he had not had reports of any bones being dug up.

He said: "There has been digging within the cemetery. However we are unaware of any intrusion into a grave space.

"The pest control team is monitoring the situation and will continue to do so. It is illegal to take severe action against a fox."

Foxes are becoming more common in towns and cities, and are often seen in gardens scavenging for food.

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People can deter them by keeping their gardens tidy, removing potential food sources and keeping rubbish in closed bins.