Traveller funeral is broken up by police after mourners seize the body

Police break up traveller funeral as mourners flout social distancing rules after they demand body back from the undertaker – and drive it to church in back of a Transit van

  • About 60 grievers – some swigging beer – moved on by Bedfordshire Police at Dunstable Cemetery at 10am
  • The group was blatantly flouting government lockdown rules on social distancing – brought in to tackle Covid
  • The morgue that was holding the woman’s body told travellers they would not released it on Wednesday night
  • But the group is understood to have threatened to burn down the establishment if they did not let them have it
  • Before the funeral, the coffin was put in a van and driven 25 miles from Sandy to Dunstable with its doors open
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Police have broken up a traveller funeral as mourners flouted social distance rules after 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 grievers, some swigging beer, were moved on by Bedfordshire Police during the service for a woman at Dunstable Cemetery at around 10am yesterday.

The group was blatantly ignoring government lockdown rules on social distancing – brought in to tackle the deadly coronavirus – as they gathered around the plot.

Up to 60 grievers, some swigging beer, were moved on by Bedfordshire Police during the service for a woman at Dunstable Cemetery at around 10am yesterday (pictured)

The group was blatantly flouting government lockdown rules on social distancing – brought in to tackle the deadly coronavirus – as they gathered around the plot. Pictured: The coffin being held in the back of a Transit van

The morgue holding the woman’s body had told travellers they would not released it, but the group threatened to burn down the establishment if they did not

A wake was held at one of the member’s house in Sandy, central Bedfordshire, yesterday morning where up to 25 vans parked on the village green – despite there being space on the road (pictured)

Police 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

The morgue holding the woman’s body had told travellers they would not release it on Wednesday night, but the group allegedly threatened to burn down the establishment if they did not.

A wake was held at one of the member’s house in Sandy, central Bedfordshire, yesterday morning, where up to 25 vans parked on the village green despite there being space on the road.

A witness said: ‘Look, I don’t mind the travellers, but why would you park on the village green in your van, it’s just disrespectful isn’t it.’

After the meet up, the coffin was bundled into the back of a white Transit van – despite a hearse being present – but was too long and stuck out the back by ‘four inches’.

A man who is involved in the service is photographed drinking from a bottle of Budweiser ahead of the burial in Dunstable

The travellers completely flouted social distancing rules as they huddled around the cemetery in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, yesterday  

En route to the site, one of the Ford Focuses reportedly tried to catch up with the rest of the procession and went the wrong way around a roundabout

The vehicle was understood to have been driven the 25 miles to Dunstable Cemetery with its doors ajar, while two youngsters ‘held on to it for dear life’.

En route to the burial site, one of the Ford Focuses in the procession reportedly tried to catch up with the others 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.’

The Transit was understood to have been driven the 25 miles to Dunstable Cemetery (pictured, the service) with its back doors ajar, while two youngsters ‘held on to it for dear life’

A woman involved in the service carries a bouquet of flowers which read ‘Nanny’ towards the cemetery in Bedfordshire

When the van got to the cemetery, an unmarked police car with three plain-clothed officers was understood to be waiting for them.

But 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.

Officers dispersed the crowd and the burial was finished without any mourners.

The 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.’

Bedforshire Police has been approached for comment.

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