The body of his son was barely cold when the ­grieving father was threatened by men from the funeral company. Inside the mortuary of an austere hospital in Lamezia Terme, a city in southern Italy, the dead were not left in peace. Each corpse was now a highly prized commodity, worth ­thousands of euros to Europe’s most ­ruthless organised criminals.

The men from the funeral company somehow knew which patients had passed away even before their own families did. Through intimidation they had gained access to the hospital’s central medical records, allowing them to screen for those sickest and most likely to die. If relatives considered picking a different funeral company to take away their loved one, the men would soon ensure they changed their minds.

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