Beareaved relatives have been offered an apology by council chiefs after suffering funeral delays in the Highlands.
Staff problems affected burials despite the local authority’s policy of guaranteeing funerals within seven working days.
Reports suggesting some delays lasting a fortnight were dismissed yesterday by the council.
It emphasised that the service was back to normal but conceded that a shortage of staff due to illness and holidays had been a problem.
The council’s community services director William Gilfillan said: “Our policy is to carry out burials within seven working days and, on the whole, this is what happens.
“There are numerous reasons why delays may occur. These include family requests, availability of advertising space and funeral director requirements.
“However, due to staff illness and holidays in the Inverness burial squad over the past few weeks it hasn’t always been possible to carry out all burials within seven working days.
“In such cases we’ve liaised closely with funeral directors and are very sympathetic to the families at this difficult time.”
Mr Gilfillan added: “Please be assured that the service is now back to normal – and our sincere apologies to anyone who’s been affected by these temporary delays.”
Last autumn, city councillors called for a timetable to be established for the construction of a new cemetery to meet future demand.
Liberal Democrat member Alec Graham urged officials to begin the groundwork early.
While there is a trend in the region towards cremations, there is no space for expansion of the ancient Tomnahurich Cemetery.
Kilvean Cemetery was estimated to have a maximum lifespan of about 12 years.