Lifting gear used to lower obese Scots into graves

MIDLOTHIAN COUNCIL is using heavy lifting gear to winch the bodies of obese Scots into their graves.

The equipment used to lower obese Scots into graves in Midlothian. Picture:  Teleshore
The equipment used to lower obese Scots into graves in Midlothian. Picture: Teleshore

The A-frame device capable of lifting a tonne has been deployed by the authority to avoid accidents and injuries to mourners.

Some of the dead are simply too heavy safely to be lowered into the ground using the traditional method of wide tapes slung under the coffin.

The device was originally purchased by Midlothian to help lift massive headstones.

But the A-frame gantry, supplied by Welsh firm Teleshore, has found a new use as a result of the obesity crisis gripping Scotland.


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The frame is wheeled into position above the open grave before being jacked up to assure stability.

A harness is placed around the coffin because being winched into the earth using a large chain.

Tam Fry, spokesman for The National Obesity Forum, said: “It must be traumatic for these families but what were they doing when the person was alive?

“It is terrible. Every element of society is having to cater for the rising obesity problems.


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“The government say that there is less obesity but the fat people are getting fatter.”

A spokeswoman for Midlothian Council confirmed: “The A Frame has actually been used to lower coffins.

“We would always ask the permission of the family before using this.

“It would be done before the ceremony so it doesn’t look a bit odd or awkward for the family.”


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Teleshore says on its website that the frame is “made of high tensile aluminium giving a corrosion resistant, lightweight and robust construction”.

The gantry uses pneumatic tyres which “allow easy movement over uneven ground...all wheels castor to give maximum maneuverability in restricted space”.

Earlier this year it was revealed that councils in the UK were having to widen their graves to accommodate the demand for larger plots due to obesity