Mass inspections announced amid Legacy Independent Funeral Directors investigation

  • Video report by Matt Price

Every funeral director in Hull and East Yorkshire will be inspected after police launched an investigation into alleged malpractice at one business.

Hull City Council and East Riding Council have written to funeral directors informing them of the visits, which are supported by industry bodies.

Julia Weldon, Hull's director of public health, said the move would help to reassure people in the wake of the investigation into Legacy Independent Funeral Directors.

She said: "We know that bereaved families will have seen the recent reports and will be seeking reassurance at what is already a very difficult time. These visits are a chance for both local authorities to work with our local businesses to put those reassurances in place."

Humberside Police started investigating Legacy after concerns were raised on 6 March about the care of bodies.

Thirty-five bodies have been removed from premises in Hessle Road, Hull in what the force called a "horrific incident". A quantity of ashes has also been recovered.

A 46-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of prevention of a lawful and decent burial and fraud are on bail.

Last Friday, senior officers said they believed they had contacted the families of all 35 of the deceased.

Pre-arranged visits to funeral directors will be conducted this week. Council officers will review health and safety and operational procedures and care of the deceased.

The visits have the support of the National Association of Funeral Directors and the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors.

Andy Kingdom, public health director for East Riding Council, said: "While our main focus at the moment is on supporting the families directly affected by this very upsetting situation, it is also important that we work together to ensure confidence, trust and the high standards people must be able to expect from the sector."

The investigation into Legacy has prompted calls for tighter control of the industry.

Mark Horton, president of the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF), wants statutory regulation.

He said: "We want to reassure families that all our members adhere to strict regulation and standards. All are professional funeral directors. I welcome regulation across the UK, so families can be reassured their loved ones are looked after in a dignified way."

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