FAMILIES in Ayr have been horrified by the discovery that their loved ones are 'floating in water' after leaks into new burial chambers were confirmed at a local cemetery.

Burial lairs at the newest section of Ayr Cemetery on its eastern edge have been discovered to have been letting water in despite assurances that they were watertight and airtight.

Suzann Mckenzie told BBC Scotland she feared the remains of her son's dad were now "floating in six feet of water".

When 32-year-old James Mcgarrie died nearly three years ago he was buried with letters and drawings by his son.

It comes after a section of the cemetery was sealed off earlier this month to allow the investigation to take place after relatives of the deceased raised concerns about flooding at the site last year.

The water has now been extracted from the lairs and any holes sealed up, South Ayrshire Council officials have said.

Sarah Mckenzie told BBC Scotland: "Families were asking if there was water in the graves. We were told that the chambers were air-tight and water-tight.

"And we were told the chambers had a six to nine month trial period before being used."

The Herald: The part of the cemetery affected.The part of the cemetery affected.

Council officials pin the blame on external contractors who installed the lairs in 2017.

Families of those interred in the affected part of the cemetery have been informed.

The problem is said to have affected 30 lairs.

Ms Mckenzie said the council sent out letters asking families for consent to have their loved ones' graves inspected.

But although 30 families gave their permission, only 10 graves were checked and confirmed to have water ingress.

She said: "It's really distressing. I've got all sorts going through my head, thinking my son's dad is floating in six feet of water.

"No one has any trust in the council or trust the report will be the 100% truthful.

"The council don't care, it's just a job to them. If it was their families in there, they would understand.

"They are not caring or communicating with us or making people feel relaxed."

One family member of a deceased relative interred at the cemetery, who wished to remain anonymous, received a letter from the council informing her that her mother's lair had been flooded.

She told our sister paper the Ayr Advertiser: "It's just awful and I'm beyond angry. 

"Mum was buried there three years ago.

"It’s incredible to think they’d install a new system and not check it - especially something involving human remains.

"I’ve been dreading this result."

A South Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: "The investigation at Ayr Cemetery extension has found water ingress in the inspected chambers.

"These chambers were installed by external contractors on the basis that they were watertight and airtight, and all appropriate permissions were obtained to satisfy statutory requirements.

"The water within inspected chambers has now been removed and all access holes have been sealed.

"Families who had a chamber inspected have been individually notified of the outcome."

Investigations continue to determine the cause of the leaks, with the council yet to decide what, if any, further action will need to be taken.

The council spokesperson added: "The cause of the ingress is being investigated by both the specialist who undertook the inspections and a specialist civil engineering consultant.

"Once we have received the analysis and the reports from the consultants we will know if further investigatory works are required, and we will liaise directly with families with regards to the proposed remedial action."