Fake cremation concerns for horse owners

  • Fears that more horse owners have been duped by fake cremation services are surfacing.

    Three more people have come forward following H&H’s story about fraudulent knackerman Phillip John Cooper last month, concerned that they too have been conned.

    One case is connected to Cooper, the other two relate to other cremation services.

    Cooper, 69, of Somerton, Somerset, was fined more than £53,000 for charging owners for cremations that never took place.

    Jenny Morgan, who used a different service, contacted H&H worried that she had been returned too few ashes for them to be her Welsh section C pony, Aston True Welshman.

    Ms Morgan has reported her concerns to Northampton Trading Standards and the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria (APPCC).

    The pony was a former Picton supreme novice champion and featured on the cover of Jenny’s book Showing Native Ponies.

    “This could be only the tip of the iceberg,” said Ms Morgan. “Who knows how many other victims are out there? “I still have no idea what happened to my beloved pony.”

    Ms Morgan paid £1,000 for her pony to be individually cremated and said it was “very difficult” to get his ashes back.

    “Weeks passed and eventually we got a shoebox-sized casket — he was 13.2hh.

    “I’m angry and upset. This is not the dignified and respectful end that I wanted for him.”

    Kevin Spurgeon of the APPCC told H&H he was dealing with two new cases — though, due to ongoing discussions with Trading Standards, he could not comment further.

    One is in Wiltshire and the other relates to Phillip John Cooper.

    “It [the Cooper case] has led people to look into what ashes they had back and whether it’s what they were expecting,” said Mr Spurgeon.

    He reiterated his warning to owners and vets, as the equine cremation industry is completely unregulated.

    “Vets should ensure they have full written working practices and carry out regular site inspections.

    “And owners need to get specific details of exactly what will happen and when, from start to finish.”

    To contact the APPCC, tel: 01252 844478

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (13 December 2012)

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