A notice has been served to tent-dwellers following complaints of drug abuse and defecation and urination on graves at a Slough church.

The homeless people who have been served with the notice have been staying in tents on St Mary’s Church. Slough Borough Council will give them until 4 February at 9am to remove all of the tents and associated materials. Any materials that are left after that time will be removed and destroyed.

The church have said they support the action of the council, following evidence of:

• Pitching tents on graves, memorials and monuments making it impossible for residents to visit deceased relatives

• Urination and human fouling in the churchyard and on graves

• Littering

• Public drug taking and alcohol consumption

• Drug and alcohol abuse

• Uncontrolled fires which have caused damage to burial sites and memorials

Enforcement team leader Ian Blake said: “The church has been patient for a very long time but the behaviour by the people living in these tents, and the tents themselves, are having a severe and detrimental effect on the area and on the relatives of those buried at St. Mary’s.

“We have been undertaking intensive outreach work with the people in the tents but they have been unwilling to change their behaviour or access any of the services we have sign posted them to.

Lead member for regulatory services, Councillor Pavitar K Mann added: “We all feel heart-sore at the plight of some of our homeless residents and the circumstances that have driven them to camp in this way.

“However, there are multiple organisations who are there to help, and that we have signposted them to, but unfortunately nothing has changed.

“Churchyards are hallowed ground and do not deserve to be disrespected in this way. We need to take action to protect the resting places of those who have come before us.”