THE problem of thousands of possibly unsafe gravestones in Kirklees may have been caused by how they were fixed - including using pencils.
Shocked council officials believe more than 25,000 headstones in cemeteries across the area could be in danger of falling over.
They are checking graves across Kirklees, starting with Kirkheaton Cemetery.
They have tested 263 headstones and 122 were unsafe.
These were laid flat - a move which outraged families and Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman.
The families now need to pay memorial masons to reinstate the headstones. It costs more than £200 each.
Families reacted in fury at laying the headstones flat, accusing the council of desecrating the graves.
Many of those found to be unsafe had been stuck to the base with concrete. Others were held with flimsy items, such as copper pipes and even pencils.
But since September, 2003, the National Association of Memorial Masons has said headstones must be fixed to the base with stainless steel ground anchor kits.
Its executive officer, Ian Gostling, said the
association represents more than 400 masons throughout the UK. He thinks members are responsible for 85% of the headstones made each year.
He said that with hindsight headstones should have been fixed better.
Association members have to guarantee the headstone will stay fixed for 10 years.
Now, a British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons has been set up.
Memorial masons will have to be on it and meet association standards.
Meanwhile, Mr Sheerman met about 50 people at Kirkheaton Cemetery who were unhappy that relatives' graves had been laid flat.
"The strength of feeling is tremendous," he said. "They believe the graves have been vandalised."
He said many of the headstones laid flat were only knee-high and could not have caused anyone serious harm.
"I'm astounded at the extent of what Kirklees has done with no consultation," he added. "It has been incredibly insensitive.
"At Kirkheaton Cemetery a wall looks far more dangerous than any of the headstones laid flat."
Lisa Main, 42, of Meltham, was shocked to find the headstone for her baby son laid flat.
Daniel Main died aged just five months in 1987.
Lisa said: "I can't believe they've touched a baby's grave. I feel Daniel's grave has been desecrated. It's brought his death all back.
"When I phoned to complain I was crying."