A CEMETERY has joined a scheme in a bid to protect hedgehogs living on its grounds.

Maldon District Council's cemetery team is supporting the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) in protecting hedgehogs native to the UK.

The council's cemeteries are "ideal homes" for hedgehogs and it has found evidence of the creatures living in Maldon cemetery.

Its cemetery team have joined the preservation society's scheme to become “Hog Heroes”.

Yellow stickers will be displayed on the grass cutting machinery to remind staff to look out for the small friends who will begin hibernating soon.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: The BHPS stickerThe BHPS sticker

Wendy Stamp, leader of the council, said: "I am pleased that we have signed up to support the British Hedgehog Preservation Society in their awareness campaign.

"As hedgehogs head into hibernation, please be mindful of our little friends this November if you are celebrating bonfire night, and always check for who might be taking up camp."

The council have also been placing hedgehog homes and feeding stations in quiet areas of the cemetery.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: A hedgehog houseA hedgehog house

It hopes to monitor activity and encourage more to take up residence.

Some residents may even be lucky enough to spot a hedgehog in their garden before they begin hibernating.

Debbie Horrey, cemeteries and bereavement services senior co-ordinator, found a young hedgehog in her own garden.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: The hedgehog in Debbie's gardenThe hedgehog in Debbie's garden

With some advice from the council’s countryside and coast manager Matt Wilson, she fed and watered him before taking him to be cared for at an animal sanctuary.

For more information on the BHPS visit britishhedgehogs.org.uk.