A furious family say a petition could be launched after mourners were warned artificial flowers and ornaments should be removed from a graveyard.

Revd Laurie Bond insists he is simply trying to ensure that regulations set by the Diocese of Chelmsford are observed at St Peter's Church, in Church Street, Sible Hedingham.

But the family of father-of-four John Curtis, who died in December 2012 and is buried in the churchyard, believe families should have the right to pay their respects however they like.

Eldest child Rosalind Smith, of Nunnery Street, Castle Hedingham, described the warning as “disgusting”.