Police broke up a traveller funeral as mourners flouted social distance rules when they demanded the body back from the morgue and drove it 25 miles to a church in the back of an open Transit van.
UP to 60 mourners, some swigging beer were moved on by Bedfordshire Police during the service for a woman at Dunstable Cemetery, near Luton, at around 10am yesterday.
The group had blatantly ignored government lockdown rules on social distancing, brought in to tackle the deadly coronavirus, as they gathered around the plot.
When the van got to the cemetery, an unmarked police car with three plain-clothed officers was understood to be waiting for them, the service was allowed to get underway, with up to 60 mourners crammed around the plot near Luton.
More police rocked up and officers swooped on the site and entered what was described as a ‘Mexican standoff’ with the travellers, two of whom were caught drinking despite it being about 10am in the morning. Officers eventually dispersed the crowd and the burial was finished without any mourners.
One witness added: “Look I get it’s a funeral and I have full respect for them and it’s very sad someone’s died ultimately, but it’s just their behaviour. But obviously they don’t give a flying hoot.”
A Ford Focus on its way to the cemetery reportedly tried to catch up with the other cars and went the wrong way around a roundabout. It was said to have smashed into an oncoming car, but allegedly drove off and only stopped further down the road when it broke down.
The witness said: “It’s just traveller madness, as usual, isn’t it in fairness.”