Rabbits running riot around Jedburgh’s Castlewood Cemetery are to be culled in a bid to solve one of a host of issues affecting the state of the burial ground.
The condition of the cemetery’s grounds has been criticised by townsfolk and community councillors unhappy not only about the effect of the council’s new grass-cutting schedule but also about the long-running problem of rabbits overrunning the graveyard and eating flowers and wreaths left there.
Scottish Borders Council did install rabbit-proof fencing, but it has proven ineffective, so it has now ordered a cull instead.
Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton, reading out an update from council officers, told the town’s community council that pest control company Surekill will be brought in to “euthanise as many rabbits as possible, including under the site shed.”
He added: “Once the gates are repaired, and we have taken all reasonable steps to exclude the entry of rabbits, we will instruct Surekill to carry out their work.”
That update follows a site visit by councillors and officers two months ago, prompted by a string of complaints about the state of the burial ground.
Community Council chairman Rory Stewart criticised the council’s response, though, replying: “It has taken seven weeks to get to where we were before you had the meeting with officers.
“It’s a very emotive issue. It’s not acceptable, and it’s something that the councillors need to work very hard on finding a solution for.”
Mr Hamilton added later: “Castlewood Cemetery has been a concern for some time, and I am very aware of the strong feelings surrounding the state of the cemetery.
“Myself and fellow elected colleagues, with the help of council officers, have been working together to try and resolve the matter.
“Areas including vermin control are being dealt with as soon as the gates and fencing are repaired.”
Mr Hamilton also confirmed repairs will be carried out to a damaged pillar and gate at the entrance, gulley pots cleaned and drainage in the cemetery re-established.
The council has also sought estimates for re-erecting around 12 headstones in the oldest part of the cemetery at a potential cost of around £4.300.