INSPECTORS uncovered multiple breaches at two Scottish sites run by a waste disposal company at the centre of a criminal probe after stockpiling hundreds of tonnes of human body parts and medical waste.

Healthcare Environmental Services Ltd (HES), which is based in Lanarkshire and contracted by the NHS to get rid of waste, is under fire after amassing huge amounts of amputated limbs, infectious liquids, refuse linked to cancer treatment and hazardous materials.

It is now being investigated by environmental bosses in England after it was found to be in breach of its permits at five sites.

It has since emerged the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) also served enforcement notices on two of its sites in Dundee and Shotts, Lanarkshire, last month.

HES, which is owned by Scottish businessman Garry Pettigrew, provides "clinical waste disposal services" for NHS Scotland and 50 health trusts across England.

Last night Scottish hospital bosses confirmed they had contingency plans in place if contracts collapse on the back of the enforcement action.

An NHS spokeswoman said this would “ensure that there is sufficient storage capacity for clinical waste to be stored safely on site for a period of 72 hours”.

HES said the backlog of medical waste was allowed to build up on its sites due to widespread problems with incineration capacity.

It said it had pointed out to inspectors that “the amount of waste produced by the NHS for incineration far outweighs the entire incineration capabilities of the UK, and not just HES”.

It added: "We are not the only company to feel the strain on our services, with many of our competitors continually breaching storage regulations."

But environmental regulators have launched a criminal investigation south of the Border, while Scottish inspectors have increased scrutiny.

Last month, Sepa flagged up multiple problems at a waste transfer station in Dundee and a processing and incineration plant at Shotts, including failures in waste handling and tracking procedures.

In Dundee, officers found one pallet of waste had been stored on site for more than two months – when it was meant to be processed within 48 hours.

Sepa previously refused to release details of the inspections under Freedom of Information laws, but made the reports public yesterday.

It said inspections were now being carried out on a weekly basis, but insisted the company had complied with the notices and that “both sites are operating within allowed storage capacity.”

A spokeswoman said: “In addition to our own regulation, which resulted in two enforcement notices being served, Sepa has been aware of the developments in England and have increased our scrutiny of Scottish sites.”

In England, excess waste at the company's Normanton site in Yorkshire reached 350 tonnes in September – five times more than the firm's permitted limit.

The UK Environment Agency has served 13 warning notices and two "compliance notices" to the firm for falling foul of rules, while HES has been banned from accepting any more clinical waste at Normanton.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock chaired a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergencies committee last month, where he green lit enforcement action.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Clinical waste disposal services are provided to NHS Scotland by Healthcare Environment Services Ltd.

“There have been no reports of any impact on these services from NHS Boards. In the event of any disruption to service at NHS sites across Scotland, NHS Scotland already has contingency plans ready to put into place to ensure there is no impact on services to patients or staff.

“These will be in line with the standards enforced by SEPA.”