Councillors are looking at ways to tackle antisocial behaviour in cemeteries, including a group of mourners holding late night parties at a graveside and reports of guns being fired.

A spate of antisocial behaviour at a cemetery which included gun shots and screaming prompted councillors at the cleaner, greener, safer overview and scrutiny committee to debate whether locking cemetery gates at night would solve the problem.

At the committee meeting on Tuesday, chairman, Joycelyn Redsell, said: “I’ve had a few complaints about the Chadwell one about cars racing up and down. A few complaints have been put through to the police that guns were in there and they were shooting them.”

Sara Muldowney, Labour councillor for Chadwell St Mary, said: “We do have an issue in Chadwell. There are a group of friends and family with one particular grave who only like to go there at night.

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"Sometimes there is quite loud partying reported. It was reported that there was a gun shot that was heard and a woman screaming.

"There were two separate incidents that the police are aware of.

“The first one was to do with a group who go in there at night to visit their friend’s grave at 11pm.

"Do we really want to stretch it to those kind of hours? We want to give people time with their loved ones but a line needs to be drawn somewhere.

"Do people really need to be at a cemetery at 11pm? Is that really the only time they can go and visit their friend’s grave if it’s causing an antisocial situation for nearby residents?

“There was a separate incident that the police attended outside the graveyard where a there was an assault on woman. It may be they were two separate incidents but they were reported to the police.”

Vincent Taylor, strategic lead for clean and green, said: “It wouldn’t be a time when someone would be visiting a cemetery but I don’t know whether or not the locking of the gate would prevent them getting in because they can just walk in anyway.”

Mr Vincent said it wouldn’t be practical to lock pedestrian gates as they would have to be locked at 3.30pm when staff left and that would restrict access for visitors.

He said officers would work with police to tackle the problems.