A Scottish disposal firm at the centre of the NHS clinical waste scandal is to sue the organisations which terminated its contracts.

Shotts-based Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) is pursuing legal action against 17 NHS trusts in Yorkshire which “unlawfully” ended their contracts.

The company is now seeking damages worth “upwards of £15 million”.

HES said its lawyers Shoosmiths have written to the trusts outlining the reasons for legal action.

They became embroiled in a clinical waste stockpiling controversy earlier this year, with the firm denying claims that human body parts were among items caught up in a backlog at its sites.

HES managing director Garry Pettigrew said the company has been unfairly “vilified”.

In a statement, Mr Pettigrew said: “We feel that we have been left with no choice but to take legal action against the trusts after the terms of the agreed contracts were broken. Our contracts were terminated without first discussing any performance issues with the company and we were given no opportunity to fulfil our obligations.

“We are now taking this action to safeguard the company and our employees’ future, and to give us an opportunity to correct some of the misinformation that has been reported in the media.”