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Call for by-law banning L-drivers from using Wirral cemeteries
THE leader of Wirral Council is calling for the introduction of a by-law banning learner drivers from using cemeteries as practice routes.
Cllr Phil Davies decided to act after the headstone of a Wirral soldier was destroyed by a driver taking an early morning lesson through Landican Cemetery on August 1.
Lance Corporal Terik Lines, 27, from Birkenhead, lost his life when the armoured truck he was driving collided with a van while he was serving in Kenya.
He was buried with military honours at Landican and his was one of four headstones damaged when the vehicle went out of control that morning.
Wirral Council, which manages the cemetery, said at the time that there were no by-laws preventing driving lessons being taken there. But a Globe online petitiion showed readers were in favour of a ban.
Cllr Davies told the Globe today: “First of all, it’s not acceptable that this has happened.
“I saw the outcome of the online survey done by the Globe which showed that people have called for it to be banned.
“In the light of what happened, I’ve asked our legal team to look at what has to be done to introduce a by-law, which would stop this happening again.
"It could be a long process and such a proposal would have to go through cabinet before it is approved.
"However, I’m sympathetic to the arguments and need to make sure this does not happen again.”
At the time of the incident Terik’s grieving mum, Les, told the Globe: “I think it’s very disrespectful to have driving lessons in Landican.
"People come here to pay their respects to their loved ones – it should never be used for teaching people to drive.
“There are many more appropriate places in Wirral where people can take their lessons.”
Terik died on the morning of December 4, 2008. An inquest at Wallasey Town Hall 18 months later heard that Terik, a member of the Royal Engineers, was driving an armed Toyota twin-cab vehicle when it collided with a van and landed in a ditch.
He died at the scene from his injuries. His Regiment has been informed of the gravestone damage.
Also among the headstones destroyed was that of Kitty Craze. Her niece, who asked not to be named, said: "The whole family is really upset by this. I would like to see a total ban on people driving through the cemetery.
"People should not be allowed to learn to drive through a place where people have been put to rest. I've never known anything like it, notices need to be put up to stop this happening again."
Council officers contacted families of the five memorials affected, explaining that the memorials will all be restored or replaced via a claim on the driver’s insurance.
Cllr Davies continued: “I’m pleased by the way the council has agreed to issue compensation to pay for repairs to the stones that were damaged.”