A LONG-established monumental mason has come under fire after failing to deliver on headstones.

AJ Virgo, of Rotherwas, Hereford, has been placing headstones in the graveyards of Herefordshire since 1840.

But mourning families say recent orders have gone unfulfilled, despite deposits being paid.

Several customers claim promised delivery dates have been missed, and they have been unable to contact the business.

Alison Morris said her family has been waiting since March for a memorial that they were told would take 12 weeks to deliver.

The family contacted AJ Virgo, but say the business’s response was that they had been bereaved.

“I sympathise, but we have also had a loss and still need the stone we paid for,” Mrs Morris said.

“We are taking legal action, and Trading Standards have been informed, but that doesn’t compensate for the lack of a stone which we paid almost £1,000 for.”

Kevin Wallace ordered and paid for a headstone for his parents’ grave in January, but says the family are still waiting for it to be placed. Meanwhile, Matt Winstone’s family have been waiting four months for a headstone that was promised in eight weeks.

David and Sharon Podmore said they paid the company to add another name to an existing headstone. The stone was removed and has not yet been returned.

“We paid a 50 per cent deposit in May, but we have not heard a thing since,” they said. “We are going through small claims.”

The business has not responded to repeated attempts at contact from the Hereford Times. A notice in the window says the business is closed due to family illness.

Answering reviews left online, manager Dawn Taylor said there had been a family crisis and that explanatory letters and emails had been sent to customers.

But affected customers say they have received no such contact.

A neighbouring business said the owners were “nice, genuine, honest people” and they were sad to see the difficulties the business is experiencing.

A Herefordshire Council spokesperson said: “We are aware that several members of the public have reported paying deposits to a company for work on memorial stones which does not appear to have been carried out.

“Trading Standards are looking into the matter, and the company is currently suspended from our memorial registration scheme.

“We can confirm that the company in question does rent commercial space from the council. We are currently taking legal advice in respect of the lease and cannot comment further.

“Anybody affected by this matter should contact the Trading Standards consumer line.”