Protesters swarm to church for burial demonstration

Demonstration at St Mary's Church Pulborough.
Demonstration at St Mary's Church Pulborough.

Around 50 travellers descended on St Mary’s Church in Pulborough at the weekend to hold a demonstration in response to burial disputes between families and the church, say Sussex Police.

Family members, most from a travelling background, who have relatives buried in the cemetery came from as far as London carried with placards and balloons on Sunday to protest against changes made graves.

PC John Burt, along with PCSO Hannah Venus, attended the planned demonstration.

Police liaised with the organisers at an early stage, some of which they had met before, and they assured officers that this was to be a quiet, peaceful and friendly protest.

PC Burt said: “The travellers were good to their word and spent three hours chatting amongst themselves whilst making their point.

“The only downside to the day was some abuse shouted from people within a vehicle which drove by twice aimed at the travellers.

“I will be following up the incident with a view to prosecuting the individual/s involved under the public order act having obtained the vehicle details.”

The church is part of the Chichester diocese.

Theresa Millis, 70, of Rivermead, had the rails around her husband’s grave removed at St Mary’s Church in Pulborough.

Her husband Anthony died three years ago.

She said: “The vicar did not come out to speak to us which was a bit rude. We would have liked to get our message across.”