Council staff have been removing wooden crosses without informing relatives, it has been claimed.
One grieving woman says she was told to ‘look round the back’ where various bits of rubbish had been dumped to find the cross she had left on a grave.
Liz Maggs put the 60cm (2ft) cross bearing a personal inscription on the grave of her mother-in-law Rosemary, while the family waited for a headstone to be made.
But when Mrs Maggs returned to visit the grave with her husband, Charles, and daughters, Zoe, 16, and Danielle, 14, just a few days later she found the cross had disappeared.
The 43-year-old, from Shirehampton near Bristol, reported it stolen to staff but they told her it had been removed because it did not meet council regulations.
Danielle collapsed with shock on hearing that the cross had been moved to the alleyway at the cemetery in at in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
Mrs Maggs said: ‘The whole incident has left us all very upset.
‘We had a look around and saw wooden crosses on other graves so thought something similar would be appropriate.
‘I am very angry that it was removed without us being told. I think the rules are completely over the top.’
Mrs Maggs has now taken the cross home and placed it in the family’s garden. The family paid more than £1,000 for the triple plot at the site.
North Somerset Council said the cross posed a health and safety risk because all the other graves had flat memorials, not upright headstones.
Council spokesman Nick Yates said: ‘There are a number of regulations we ask people to follow and our staff did discuss with the family what could be placed in the cemetery and we do give relatives written information to this effect.
‘Our staff try to deal with all situations in a sensitive way.’
Mrs Maggs said she was not made aware of any guidelines.