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Police unable to use DNA to identify ashes recovered from Hull funeral parlour

Police have said that they are unable to identify any of the human ashes recovered from a Hull funeral parlour.

Legacy Independent Funeral Directors has been under investigation since officers recovered bodies, as well as suspected human ashes, at its site on Hessle Road.

Humberside Police have said detectives have been working "around the clock" since concerns were raised last month "about the storage and management processes relating to care of the deceased" at the family-run business.

In a press conference held on Thursday, assistant chief constable Thom McLoughlin revealed police had received more than 2,000 calls from members of the public and are in contact with over 700 families.

Police said a "significant number" of the calls they had received were about worries over identifying the ashes of loved ones.

However, despite working closely with forensic scientists and specialists, authorities will not be able to identify any of the ashes found in the funeral parlour, due to the cremation.

This will come as a blow to the affected families who have previously spoken about their anguish at not knowing how their loved ones were treated and whether they were given the right ashes.

Mr McLoughlin said: "Whilst the expert opinion provides us with assurance that the proper crematorium process had been followed; unfortunately, given the high temperature required to carry out a cremation, the DNA will have been broken down and degraded to such a level, that we would not be able to recover a meaningful DNA profile.

"This means that we are unable to identify any of the human ashes. This will, of course, be devastating news for families and loved ones and you have my heartfelt condolences at this difficult time."

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He added that the police had received a "number of calls that relate to suspected financial and fraudulent activity" and that specialist teams were carrying out investigations.

Police have been in contact with the families of 35 people whose remains were recovered in a raid at the funeral home and are still working to formally identify them.

Julia Weldon, Hull City Council director of public health and deputy chief executive, said: "We recognise that this has been an exceptionally difficult time for families and our community, my heart goes out to you all.

"I wanted to let you know we are here for all those affected directly or indirectly across our community."

Two people - a man aged 46 and a woman aged 23 - were arrested on suspicion of prevention of a lawful and decent burial, fraud by false representation and fraud by abuse of position.

They have been released on bail while the investigation continues.