A shocking blunder that led to a wrong body being cremated has led to two funeral workers being sacked.
The mix-up saw Co-operative Funeralcare staff place the wrong body in a coffin and send it to Birtley Crematorium in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.
This meant grieving friends and family, who thought they were saying their final goodbyes to someone they loved, were saying farewell to a complete stranger.
The company, which has hundreds of funeral homes across the country, said that once the error came to light the families were notified immediately.
A spokesman for Co-operative Funeralcare said: "A serious breach of our strict procedures occurred and following a thorough investigation two members of staff have been dismissed.
"Once the issue came to light, we immediately notified the families concerned and apologised for any distress caused and we have liaised closely with the crematoria. We remain in close contact with the families.
"In the interests of client confidentiality we are unable to comment further."
A spokesman for Gateshead Council said: "We understand how very difficult this must be for the families involved.
"We have carried out investigations and all indications are that all of our standard procedures were followed."