Whanganui District Council is gunning for the out of control rabbit population at Heads Rd cemetery.

Rabbits are burrowing in and around graves and headstones, undermining them and causing damage at the historic cemetery, a council spokeswoman said.

"The council has had a baiting programme over the last few years, but it has not significantly reduced the rabbit population at the cemetery," she said.

The operation is planned for Tuesday to Thursday this week , from 10pm to dawn to minimise any disruption to nearby residents and businesses, the spokeswoman said.

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The operation had to be approved by Whanganui Police as it involves firearms in an urban area. The guns will be fitted with silencers and night vision equipment.

The operation is weather dependent and may be postponed if conditions are unsuitable. The cemetery gates will be closed while the operation is under way.

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