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Funeral firm at centre of shock TV investigation
A FUNERAL company, which has a warehouse in Hook, has defended its practices after it was the subject of a TV programme investigation.
The Co-operative Funeralcare, which has a facil-ity in Osborn Way to store and embalm bodies before funerals, was the focus of an investigation by Channel 4 programme Dispatches.
The warehouse has been on the site for more than six years, employs 20 members of staff, and services 14 funeral homes in Hampshire.
Secret footage filmed by an undercover reporter showed coffins and bodies being stacked in the warehouse. Some of the bodies in the footage were uncovered.
The programme, which screened on Monday, also detailed a trip from the warehouse to a funeral directors in Reading, where staff took a lid off a coffin so that it would fit in their van.
On the programme, Professor Geoffery Woodroffe, the former funeral service ombudsman, said of the footage: “I would say I’m surprised at the very least. I had no idea that they were treating people as if they were stacking TV sets. I would hate to think members of my family would be treated like that.”
Footage from another undercover reporter showed staff at a funeral directors, run by the company, teaching new staff how to offer more expensive funerals to grieving customers.
George Tinning, managing director of The Co-operative Funeralcare, apologised for the footage of bodies being uncovered, and said an investigation will take place.
In a statement to customers on the company’s website, Mr Tinning said that using warehouses like the one in Hook is standard practice in the industry.
He added: “You can rest assured that although this is a side of our business that the public do not see, they are amongst the finest in the profession and they are facilities we are very proud of. These enable us to deliver first-class services to the bereaved.”