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Police investigating funeral directors receive more than 1,500 calls from bereaved families

Police investigating a funeral directors in Humberside say they have received more than 1,500 calls from grieving families who had used the company.

Detectives have called in colleagues from the National Crime Agency after recovering 35 bodies from Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hessle Road in Hull, East Yorkshire.

They now say they have finished searching the premises and have contacted all 35 families affected.

Police outside the Hessle Road branch of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull (PA) (PA Wire)
Police outside the Hessle Road branch of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull (PA) (PA Wire)

National Crime Agency experts are helping the investigation which is trying to establish whether “what has been respectfully recovered are in fact human ashes”, Humberside Police say.

ACC Thom McLoughlin said: “This has truly been an awful incident and the families are understandably distraught and have many questions, and we are doing everything we possibly can to give them the answers they deserve.”

A 46-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of prevention of a lawful and decent burial, fraud by false representation and fraud by abuse of position were released on bail earlier this week.

Police and crime scene investigators had searched the site of Hull funeral directors for several days following reports of “concern for the care of the deceased”.

They moved bodies they found to a mortuary, and officers set up a dedicated phone line for anyone with worries to call.

A week on from when the alarm was first raised, Mr McLoughlin said: “Working in partnership with His Majesty’s coroner, I can confirm that whilst formal identification procedures are ongoing, we do believe we have contacted all families of the 35 deceased.

Police are still investigating (AFP via Getty Images)
Police are still investigating (AFP via Getty Images)

“My specialist trained officers continue to support the families involved at this extremely difficult time whilst lengthy enquiries are ongoing.”

He added: “We can confirm specialist experts and advisers from the National Crime Agency are currently assisting senior investigating officers with our investigation, including establishing if what has been respectfully recovered are in fact human ashes.”

The site was still cordoned off on Friday.

“In the last seven days, we have received over 1,500 calls from those who have used Legacy Independent Funeral Directors,” Mr McLoughlin said.

“I am aware that this has been a worrying time for our communities, and I want to thank them for their help and patience throughout the start of this investigation.

““This is an extremely complex and sensitive investigation, and we are continuing to work with the His Majesty’s Coroner, Hull City and East Riding council.”