A man reportedly broke into a funeral directors and stole his mother-in-law’s corpse amid fears the parlour was going bust.
The unarmed man said he had not been able to contact Butterfly Funeral Services, in Medway, Kent, days before the woman’s funeral, prompting him to break into its building and take the body.
According to the Kent Messenger, he loaded the corpse onto a trolley during the day before transporting it in a hired van to another funeral parlour.
The incident, which took place more than a year ago, came to light after several people were reportedly unable to retrieve their family members’ ashes.
The man told the newspaper: “I had no option. I had spent two days at the police station trying to track the owner down.
“I had to get the body out. I had taken on all of the organising and I didn’t want to bother my wife at this time.
“She still to this day doesn’t know what happened and I won’t be telling her.”
A handwritten note has since been put in the shop window asking people to email if they would like to collect ashes.
The business’s owner, Karen Calder, told the Kent Messenger she had been forced to shut down her business “due to ill health” and issued an apology to the families affected.
Medway Council’s head of regulatory services, James Brown, said: “We have been contacted by a funeral director who will be returning a number of urns to Medway Crematorium.
“Once we’ve received them, where we are able, we will contact individual families.
“We know how important it is for families to say goodbye to their loved ones and we will do all we can to reunite families with the urns.”