A funeral service has offered an ‘unreserved apology’ after neighbours claimed hospital sheets used to cover dead people were found ‘on the floor’ of a yard.
Hyndburn council were contacted by ‘concerned’ members of the public after ‘shrouds’ with people’s names were found in a communal area behind Lady Bell Funerals on Broadway in Accrington.
An enforcement notice was first served by the council on August 6 requiring the funeral home to remove broken car bumpers and other sharp objects within 24 hours.
However when the waste was not removed in time the council arranged for it to be cleared. The council then received another report of ‘uncontained waste’ including the shrouds at the back of the funeral service on September 20.
A local business owner, who asked not to be named, said they found the shrouds on the floor near the bin: “It’s affecting my staff and any business in the area.
“The council sent somebody round. They had to clean out the whole yard and then disinfect it all.
“I thought everything was all done and dusted and that was the end of it but then I came in [on September 20] and there it was all again.
“There were tags with dead people names’ on.
“This waste is supposed to have strict restrictions on how you dispose of it. You don’t just put it in the normal waste bin.
“What if some kids come round the back? I’m not normally a soft person but this distresses me.”
Lady Bell Funerals said they instructed a waste disposal company to remove waste from its land after the first incident, but were not given sufficient time, and that Storm Ali then ‘toppled over’ their commercial waste bin leading to a number of hospital sheets becoming ‘visible’.
In a statement, they said: “We were given 24 hours to move such things as broken car bumpers and other miscellaneous car parts which were sharp and dangerous.
“Whilst this flytipping waste is not directly related to our company, as a responsible local business, we took it upon ourselves to assist the local community.
“We instructed a local waste disposal company to remove this waste, however they did so three hours after the deadline as given by the council.
“Also due to Storm Ali our commercial waste bin toppled over and we were advised by a concerned neighbour that a number of hospital sheets were visible.
“These hospital sheets, we consider as shrouds, as they cover the deceased and provide them with privacy and respect prior to preparation and care.
“The shrouds are never soiled, however we can appreciate that some members of the public may be upset at the sight of these, for which we offer an unreserved apology.
“The staff member who regrettably placed the shrouds in the commercial waste bin has been re-trained to ensure that this does not happen again.
“I can also confirm that we now have a hazardous waste contractor to combat this issue in future. Any necessary improvements have now been made.”
Hyndburn council said the second waste incident on September 20 was reported to them at 9.55am and had already been correctly cleared by the time an officer arrived at 11am.
A spokesperson added: “‘Bin Dippers’ are known to operate in the area and the owner of the premises has been advised to ensure that all trade waste receptacles used in connection with the business have lockable lids secured in place to prevent unauthorised access in the future.
"The council’s environmental services team will be following the matter up to ensure that the business in question has appropriate trade waste storage and disposal arrangements in place.”