Concerns have been raised that ‘hundreds’ of families could be visiting someone else where they think their loved ones are buried – after The Northern Echo exposed a series of shocking burial errors.

Today a number of North East councils admitted to seven distressing grave blunders since 2017, raising concerns that this may be just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

However, the real number is expected to be much higher as the figures only cover graveyards run by local authorities, not those run by Church of England, and only cover the last ten years. The figures also do not cover cases where memorials or headstones may have been erected in the wrong places.

Read more: Durham, Darlington and Teesside loved ones buried in 'wrong' graves

It comes after the Bell family from County Durham discovered their dad Thomas had been buried in the wrong gave for 17 years, and only found out about the shocking mix-up after the death of their mum Hilda whose dying wishes were to be buried next to her doting husband.

Grahame Morris MP, who led calls for an investigation after the Bell family mix-up, has told The Northern Echo he fears the cases which have been uncovered may be the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and has said he has ‘lost confidence’ in current processes.

The Northern Echo: Grahame Morris MPGrahame Morris MP (Image: PARLIAMENT)

Mr Morris, who is MP for Easington in County Durham, said: “These cases that have been discovered may well be the tip of the iceberg.

“There are very limited circumstances in which these errors are uncovered, so to be aware of eight in the North East alone, means there are likely to be hundreds of cases across the country that will never be discovered.

“I have lost confidence in the existing process, and while we cannot change historic failures, we must establish as a matter of urgency a new procedure utilising the available technology we have today. There are online mapping tools, or services like What3Words, that allow locations to be pinpointed.

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“If we utilise such technology, precise information can be shared with the family, stonemasons and the church, making the process highly accurate, open and transparent.”

The news of more bodies buried incorrectly comes just months after families of loved ones buried at Holy Trinity Church in Wingate had to be told they had been visiting the wrong graves.

Grahame Morris added: “I appreciate the diocese is carrying out a local lesson learnt review, and want to restore trust with the families affected, however, it is clear the problem of misplaced graves is not specific to Holy Trinity Church, and any solutions need to be applied nationally.”

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