An investigation into the vandalism of graves in Macclesfield Cemetery has unearthed the unlikely culprits - crows.
Staff at Orbitas, the council-owned company which manages the graveyard, were left in a flap after complaints from grieving families.
There were reports of ‘floral tributes being ripped from their vases and scattered along grave plots’.
But after a probe they realised the devastation wasn’t being caused by yobs and vandals, but a large number of crows.
Staff believe the birds are focused on certain plots where visitors were dumping their waste rather than in the large bins provided.
There was also reports of a woman feeding the crows which had encouraged them to gather in the area.
Cemetery bosses have now spoken to the woman and installed new smaller bins for the problem areas in a hope to tackle the issue.
The move appears to worked, but Orbitas are keeping a close eye on the winged woe bearers.
Christine Heathcote, bereavement services manager, has urged people visiting the cemetery to use the bins. She said: “Since Spring we have been receiving complaints about graves being vandalised, with floral tributes being ripped from their vases and scattered along grave plots.
“After observing the area staff have noted that this devastation is being caused solely by a large number of crows.
“I contacted pest control companies for advice on how to tackle the situation, unfortunately, the most effective methods involve scarecrows, shiny materials or noisy contraptions, none of which are appropriate for cemeteries.
“We received reports of a lady feeding the crows, unaware of the devastation they were causing, I understand that she has been asked to desist. The crows appeared to be concentrating their efforts on plots around the tumulus - known as plots two, three, four and ‘I’ - where visitors were dumping their waste rather than in the euro-bins provided.
“Orbitas have now invested in equipment which enables smaller bins to be utilised in these areas, reducing the risk of injury to staff handling them and the crow population has now dwindled dramatically but this may be coincidental as the nesting season is also at an end.”