MOURNERS who bought memorial roses at Salisbury crematorium which were then eaten by deer are to be compensated by Salisbury City Council.

The crematorium, off London Road, has a memorial garden where bereaved families can purchase remembrance roses, but in 2011 several hundred roses were eaten by deer, and whenever new shoots grow they are eaten too.

The council stopped selling roses in 2011 and a meeting of its services committee on Monday evening discussed the best way to compensate bereaved families.

Councillors agreed a compensation scheme offering mourners entries in the book of remembrance free of charge - two lines for those who bought a memorial rose from 2003 to 2008 and five lines for those who bought one between 2009 and 2011.

Bereaved families will also be offered a 25 per cent discount on memorial plaques or other memorials. The compensation scheme will cost up to £8,500, to be allowed for in the council’s 2014-15 budget.

City clerk Reg Williams said: “It is our view that this particular issue won’t go away. Deer are there to stay most certainly and that means roses will continue to be eaten.”

The council previously decided not to go down the route of capturing or culling the animals and said a fence high enough to stop them getting in would be unattractive. Council officers have also considered using spray repellents but said they had limited effectiveness.

Mr Williams added: “It would be an ongoing battle in order to resolve the problem, and unfortunately if we replace all the roses and deer get through for whatever reason, we are back to square one.”

The council also decided that the rose beds will be restored to grass, at a cost of about £500, but voted against signage to warn mourners that flowers are likely to be eaten by deer, which would have cost about £1,000.