STAFF AT a Chorley forensic laboratory donned scene-of-crime style suits in a protest over the feared closure of the site.

The Forensic Science Service nationally is set to axe up to 40 per cent of its workforce - 800 jobs - in the next two years, union officials have been told.

And there are fears that the axe will fall on the laboratory in Euxton where 200 people, including forensic scientists, managers and computer staff, are employed.

The Chorley workers distributed leaflets outside the TUC Congress in the BT Convention Centre, Liverpool, today which explained their fears about the Government proposals for the Forensic Science Service (FSS).

Union officials believe the cuts will devastate the service’s ability to help Lancashire Constabulary solve cases.

Just last week the laboratory scored a major success by helping identify through DNA the killer of nine-year-old Imraan Ismail Vohra 23 years after his murder in Preston.

The jobs fight has been backed by Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle who said: “It is not possible to put a price on the cost of solving a serious crime. If the service is removed or privatised the quality and independence of the service could be compromised.

“The staff from the Forensic Science Service that are protesting are world-class. They provide an invaluable contribution to the criminal justice system. I am committed to ensuring the FSS has a secure future in Chorley.”

Union Prospect said it was ‘shocked’ at the scale of the cuts and feared it would lead to the FSS being privatised.

Prospect negotiator Mike Sparham said: “The provision of forensic science to support the criminal justice system should be provided by an impartial public sector and not the cheapest commercial supplier."

A spokesperson for the FSS said they were conducting a consultation at present, adding: “It is important to note that this is an ongoing process, in which we will be working closely with employee representatives and employees to determine how best to accomplish this. It is too soon, therefore, to say for certain what the final outcome will be. No decision has yet been made.”