The Diocese of Portsmouth has apologised to families after removing items from graves at a church on the Isle of Wight.
It follows complaints by a mother who discovered sentimental items had been removed from her daughter’s grave at the 12th century St Mary the Virgin Church in Brading. She claims the church threw the items into bin bags without telling her and was devastated when she found them missing.
The church has a sign warning visitors against leaving items such as teddy bears, artificial flowers and wind-chimes on graves. It says items on a new grave may be permitted for up to 13 months. It also states that items will be removed from the graves and disposed of twice a year, in February and August.
Items from the graves were said to have been put into bins and bin bags with names written in black marker for the families to sort through.
The Diocese has admitted it was wrong and has apologised, but hasn't allowed the items to be replaced.
The Church of England's guidance on graveside memorials says "Memorial design is controlled to ensure that those special qualities are retained and enhanced when new additions are made. Additional items such as photographs, toys and windmills may not be permitted, depending on the terms of the Regulations."