A family spent seven years grieving at the wrong graveside after a stonemason’s blunder.

Relatives of Dennis Brown even held a blessing at London Road Cemetery, Mitcham, where a headstone claimed his cremated remains had been buried in 2004.

But on a recent visit the stone was nowhere to be seen – and the family was told that in November it had been moved to another plot where the corresponding remains had actually been interred seven years previously.

Mr Brown’s granddaughter Hayley Arthur said the family was still grieving the recent death of her mother when they discovered the mistake.

Mrs Arthur said: “We’ve had so much this year – we don’t need this as well. It’s just been one thing after another.”

The family visited the cemetery last month only to discover the headstone and flowers and ornaments left there had been moved.

Cemetery owners Merton Council said a stonemason hired by the family installed the stone in the wrong place in 2004 – proved by it being inscribed with an incorrect grave number.

Councillor Andrew Judge, said it was upsetting but council officers had “acted diligently and swiftly when other’s errors were realised”.

The authority said the mistake was discovered – and the stone moved – after the plot was assigned for another burial.

The family said a stonemason from the Mitcham branch of WA Truelove – which had carried out the original work – told them he had contacted Mr Brown’s widow in Mitcham at the end of November to tell her that the stone would need to be moved.

But the family said this would have been impossible as by this point Mrs Brown had already moved to the Isle of Wight to be closer to her relatives.

An employee at WA Truelove’s Mitcham branch said the situation was “nothing to do with us”, and declined to discuss it.

Mr Brown, a carpenter who worked at St George’s Hospital, lived in Mitcham from his birth until his death aged 77 – including 60 years in Hawkes Road.