TWO people have been arrested as part of a police investigation into theft and fraud allegations at a York funeral firm.

North Yorkshire Police said that on Sunday, officers arrested a 53-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman from York in connection with allegations including theft and fraud at a funeral directors.

A spokeswoman said they had been released on police bail to allow for further inquiries to be carried out.

“We understand that families immediately affected by this investigation will be concerned and distressed and they are our priority at this early stage,” she said.

“Anyone who is immediately affected has been contacted direct by the investigation team.”

She said officers were working closely with City of York Council to put measures in place to mitigate the impact on bereaved families, including support from bereavement counsellors.

“The investigation is in the early stages and we expect it to take some time,” she said.

“If we find that any families are affected by our subsequent findings, or we believe that they may be able to assist the investigation, they will also be contacted direct.

“Anyone who is concerned and wishes to speak to someone should call the Force Control Room on 101.”

The funeral firm at the centre of the investigation is Hayley Owen Funeral Directors in Boroughbridge Road.

A spokesperson for the business said: “We are cooperating with North Yorkshire Police in respect of their ongoing investigation, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.”

Several York funeral directors have offered their support to families affected by news of the investigation.

Martin Rowley, of Rowley & Sons Family Funeral Services, said he was aware of an ongoing police inquiry involving a York funeral directors.

“As a family run firm, we stand ready to offer bereaved families affected by this inquiry, any help and advice needed during this very difficult time,” he said.

“We are already assisting families who have asked us to take over their loved one’s funeral arrangements.”

Chris Fielder, of JG Fielder & Son, said: “We were made aware of this by bereaved families who contacted us this weekend, and now a number of families have decided to change the funeral arrangements that had been put in place.

“We remain available to offer our help and support to those who need it.”

Hayley Spencer, of Darley Funeral Directors, said the firm was happy to assist anyone affected by the investigation.

Pauline Stuchfield, director of customer and communities at City of York Council, said: “We are working closely with the police to mitigate any impact on bereaved families, who have been offered support from bereavement counsellors.”