An employee at the Moray crematorium, in the Grampian region of Scotland has been suspended while the police investigate the alleged theft of precious metals.
Non ferrous metals (gold and silver etc) which are derived from dental work and jewellery are extracted by a machine after the cremation process, and it looks like one of the employees may have been ‘havin’ it away’
A spokesman for the firm said: “A member of staff has been suspended from their duties pending a police investigation.
“This employee had access to the cremator room and had taken globules of non-ferrous precious metals that a device within the cremator removes from the ashes of the deceased.
“The average temperature of the cremator during the cremation process is 1000C and any jewellery being worn by the deceased is reduced to a minute globule.
“We can assure the local community that this person has never had access to coffins or the deceased and therefore jewellery has never been removed prior to cremation. We will continue to support the police by assisting wherever we can with this investigation.”
It was always likely this was going to happen, gold is worth so much and the employee will be fairly desensitised by the nature of the job. Why is this news worthy, are we shocked and appalled? Is this modern equivalent of the Victorian grave robber, well maybe. Personally I don’t think it is, what I do find interesting that the company make the point that ‘[the] jewellery has never been removed prior to cremation’ – as that is the act that would really disgusts us. So what do you think happens to that precious metal anyway? Thrown away or returned to relatives? No, it is recycled. This metal would have been recovered anyway and the company gains an income from this, not pleasant to think of it perhaps and not something you would read in the brochure, but it happens none the less.
Moral of the story: don’t leave jewellery on the deceased, it would mean more to the loved one if someone special had it as an heirloom.
I wonder if there will ever be an open debate on this, where the funeral company can reclaim the value on your behalf to discount the funeral or maybe a bit more palatable solution would be to say for example ‘I leave my residual value to Amnesty International or Battersea Dogs Home…?’