A consultant in data privacy has slammed a crematorium for its "tasteless" posting of marketing material, claiming that it broke the law.

Tim Trent, 55, cremated his mum Connie at North East Surrey Crematorium last November and thought that would be the end of the matter.

But three days later, he was stunned to find a glossy brochure on his doormat, advertising memorials, plaques, flowers and other services offered by the crematorium.

Mr Trent said: "It hit me in the face like a sledgehammer. We had a really good send-off for my mother, and thought that chapter of our life was closed. I didn't expect this at all, so it was gloriously distasteful."

The Bracknell resident, who chose Morden for the cremation because his 89-year-old mother lived in Worcester Park, is convinced the crematorium's actions breached the Data Protection Act.

As he did business primarily with the undertaker, he claimed that the crematorium had no right to try and sell him anything.

He added that the crematorium was not registered with the Information Commissioner at the time.

The only indication that he would be given further marketing material was a form shown to him by the undertaker when he was making arrangements.

Mr Trent said: "There was an opt-out box underneath the signature, but in a situation like that it should really be an opt-in box. Normally I'm scrupulous about data privacy, but when you're sitting in front of the undertaker, you don't notice something like that."

He has referred the matter to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), and a complaints hearing with the crematorium's board and three councillors was scheduled for yesterday.

"They chose the wrong bloke," added Mr Trent, whose work involves advising marketers on how to comply with data privacy laws.

A spokeswoman for the ICO confirmed that a complaint had been registered against the North East Surrey Crematorium and that there were possible issues of inappropriateness of using personal information.

She added that the ICO recommends opt-in rather than opt-out tick boxes on forms.

A spokesman for the crematorium confirmed that a complaints hearing would take place, but refused to comment further.