Legacy Independent Funeral Directors: Debts worth more than £50,000 to councils

Legacy Independent Funeral Directors has racked up debts worth £53,508 to councils, including in unpaid cremation fees.

The funeral business, which remains the subject of a major police investigation, owes Hull City Council £51,508.46 and East Riding Council £2,000. A spokesperson for the Hull authority said that it was looking into how it would get the money back.

The news emerged before a meeting of the Hull council today, when leader Cllr Mike Ross said the authority had been undertaking a considerable amount of work since a police investigation into Legacy began on Wednesday, March 6.

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Last week, Humberside Police said 35 bodies had been removed from premises belonging to Legacy in Hessle Road, west Hull.

Legacy Funeral Directors, in Hessle Road, Hull. Picture is from Google Street ViewLegacy Funeral Directors, in Hessle Road, Hull. Picture is from Google Street View
Legacy Funeral Directors, in Hessle Road, Hull. Picture is from Google Street View

In a statement from Hull City Council, first reported by the BBC, a spokesperson said: “The debt in question relates to unpaid fees and charges, including cremation fees. The debt totals £51,508.46. We are currently exploring options to recoup any monies owed to the authority.”

It is understood that East Riding Council has also been working to recover £2,000 owed in unpaid burial fees which date back some time.

This week both councils announced that they were in the process of inspecting every funeral director in the area to check on their processes for caring for the deceased.

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Speaking during today’s full meeting of Hull City Council, Cllr Ross said that the impact on people in Hull would be felt for many months, or even years, to come. He said the council was working with other organisations, including the health service, to provide counselling and mental health support to those affected.

The leader said: “Our sympathy is with all those caught up in these events, the true magnitude of this is yet to come to light. The passing of a loved one is a terrible time whenever it happens, for families to be affected by what’s happened here is doubly tragic.

“For every deceased individual there will be eight or nine people affected. The police have received over a couple of thousand calls to the dedicated helpline number.

“Many people will have questions and some of those questions will go unanswered. This will be one of, if not the, most harrowing matters council and other staff have had to deal with in their professional lives. The impact will be felt for many months and even years to come.”

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Police investigating Legacy Independent Funeral Directors cordoned off three funeral homes earlier this month following a report of concern for the care of the deceased.

Bodies were removed from the Hessle Road site and taken to a mortuary in Hull for formal identification procedures. Last week, senior officers said they believed that relatives of all 35 of those found had been informed.

The National Crime Agency is supporting the Humberside Police investigation into Legacy. A 46-year-old man and 23-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of prevention of a lawful and decent burial, fraud by false representation and fraud by abuse of position. They were later released on bail.

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