Shannon Matthews case lab to close

Wetheryby's forensic science laboratory is to be axed with the loss of 200 jobs.

In a shock announcement, MPs were yesterday told the Forensic Science Service (FSS) will be wound up.

The FSS helped solve some of Yorkshire's most complex criminal cases, including the disappearance of schoolgirl Shannon Matthews.

Its network of laboratories analyses evidence from crime scenes in the hope of finding the offender's DNA profile.

However, increased pressure on police forensic budgets has taken its

toll on the Government-owned company's order book.

Home Office minister James Brokenshire said the service was making

operational losses of 2 million a month and was likely to run out of money by January.

The aim is that there will be "no continuing state interest in a forensics provider by March 2012", he told MPs.

In a written statement to MPs, he continued: "We have therefore decided to support the wind-down of the FSS, transferring or selling off as much of its operations as possible."

The Prospect union said the decision made a "mockery" of the justice

system. Around 75 per cent of the staff at the Wetherby laboratory are scientists or analysts.

Stephen Blake of the CMA  Photo: Vikki Ellis

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