The mayor of a French village has issued a decree banning residents from dying in his territory unless they own a spot in the overcrowded cemetery.
"It is forbidden for any person not having a plot in the cemetery ... to die on the territory of the village," the mayor of the southwestern village of Sarpourenx wrote in a decree that warned of "severe punishment" for offenders.
Mayor Gerard Lalanne told AFP he had taken the radical measure to protest against a legal ruling preventing him from enlarging the burial ground in thevillage of 260 people.
"The first dead person to come along, I'll send him to the state's representative," he said.
Lalane said he had been inspired by the mayor of another French village,Cugnaux, who had also outlawed death as a protest last year and who thus won the right to enlarge the village's cemetery.