Funeral directors expelled over missing ashes probe

A Milne funeral home
Police Scotland discovered 19 containers of ashes at the Balornock road offices, including five which remain unidentified [BBC]

A Glasgow funeral directors at the centre of an ongoing missing ashes probe has been expelled by the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Officers searched A Milne Funerals Ltd's office in Springburn earlier this month and recovered 19 containers with ashes.

Glasgow City Council said 14 families from the Dumbarton and Glasgow areas had been contacted but five of the urns remain unidentified.

The firm is also being investigated over allegations of financial misconduct.

The funeral director's Dumbarton branch was closed last year while the Springburn branch, on Balornock Road, was still registered as operating in March.

However it has remained closed since the police investigation began earlier this month.

On Wednesday the National Association of Funeral Directors’ Disciplinary Committee met and took the decision to permanently ban the firm from its membership list "with immediate effect".

A spokesperson said: "Representatives from A Milne chose not to attend the hearing."

They added the company had been asked to remove all NAFD logos from its funeral home, letterhead, marketing and website to avoid causing confusion to bereaved families.

The spokesperson said: "All directors associated with the company will be excluded from NAFD membership in respect of any alternative funeral business of which they are a director, now or in the future.

"The series of allegations received related to a pattern of behaviour not compatible with the Independent Funeral Standards Organisation (IFSO) Funeral Director Code."

As a result, it added, the company can no longer offer families access to the association’s independent complaints and redress service.

BBC Scotland News has contacted A Milne Funerals Ltd for comment but has not received a response.

Police Scotland concluded its search of the firm's premises earlier this month but said its investigation - Operation Koine - remains ongoing.

Det Insp Gerry Shovlin said: "This is a very sensitive and emotive case and we recognise the upset and distress that families have experienced.

"Our investigation has been going on for several weeks now and will continue for some time, due to the level of inquiry that will need to be followed up.

"It is a complex inquiry that involves a number of agencies, but families can be reassured that the ashes of their loved ones are a priority and will be treated with the utmost respect."