A DIGITAL autopsy service run by Bradford Council will be open to residents “as soon as possible” after the authority brought the shutters down on a contracted facility.

The council cancelled its contract with operators iGene on February 7 and locked up the building, which was located at the Public Mortuary and Forensic Science Centre, in Burnham Avenue, Bierley.

A spokesperson for iGene said it has invested £1.6million of its own money in the centre and the decision to close "came as a surprise" to the company.

The facility allows families to opt for “non-invasive” autopsies for their deceased loved ones – with computer technology used to scan the body.

It removes the need for the body to be cut open, but now families will have to travel to another iGene facility or use another service entirely while they wait for the council to open their service.

The company also has sites in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and West Bromwich, in the West Midlands.

The council has not set an opening date for their in-house digital autopsy centre.

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “Bradford Council terminated its relationship with iGene on Thursday 7 February, which brought to an end the right of the company to continue to operate on council-owned premises.

“We are working to ensure that a new digital autopsy facility can be established in-house. It will be up and running and available to residents as soon as possible.

“In the meantime iGene has made it clear in their earlier press release that they can still offer their service in any of their other locations.

“Once our new facility is up and running, we will be providing the service free at the point of use to all residents of Bradford district.”

The Council had been funding the scans for local residents since 2014, but iGene announced in January that Council funding will end at the end of the month.

An iGene spokesperson said: "iGene has operated the Bradford facility since 2014, under a 10 year contract with Bradford Council.

"iGene invested in excess of £1m to open the centre and a further £600k since this date. iGene looked to work with the Council to ensure that this most vital service remained available at all times; however Bradford Council have sought to terminate the agreement.

"This came as a surprise but iGene remains committed to delivering high quality Digital Autopsies services across its facilities.”