Church authorities in Whitby have apologised for the way they dealt with what they said were unsafe gravestones.
The laying down of 75 headstones at Sleights churchyard sparked outrage in the village, with relatives of those buried in the cemetery saying the action, which came with no prior warning, left them 'upset' and 'distraught'.
Read more: Residents 'upset' as headstones are laid down at Sleights churchyard
Church authorities have now apologised.
The Reverend Veronica Carolan said: “We are deeply sorry this situation has arisen and fully appreciate the distress it has caused to the village and especially to the families of those buried in the Churchyard.
“We have undertaken a great deal of work in the last year to improve the Churchyard, including clearing the oldest part of trees and scrub.
“We were concerned to ensure the safety of the memorial headstones after some recent extreme weather, but we now realise that the way we approached this issue was not correct.
“We will now be working with advice from the Diocese of York to ensure that a suitable programme of restoration is enacted as soon as possible.
“The Parochial Church Council is keen to re-establish goodwill, and to invite families to work with the Parish volunteers who are trying to keep the churchyard in good order.”