A FUNERAL director from Salisbury has hit back at claims a coffin-bearing hearse was left unattended in a supermarket car park.

I N Newman Funeral Directors hit the headlines in a national paper yesterday when outraged shoppers saw the hearse parked outside Morrisons in Tamworth, Staffordshire, on Friday, April 1.

Three undertakers who were in the hearse went into Morrisons after the three-hour journey while Mr Newman watched over the hearse from a separate car.

He said: “I waited outside the supermarket in the second car while the others used the toilet and got a coffee. The only reason I wasn’t in the hearse was because I was making a phone call and thought it would be impolite to do it from inside the hearse.”

Mr Newman explained how he and his colleagues had stopped at Morrisons after they went to the church where the funeral was due to take place, but found it was locked. They also stopped at the nearby cemetery but again with no luck.

“I am very sorry if it upset anybody but it was not our intention and it is not the way we operate. The vehicle was not left unattended – we were two spaces away and watching it at all times,” he added.