Body-snatching was the secret disinterment of bodies from churchyards to sell them for dissection or anatomy lectures in medical schools. A churchyard is a patch of land adjoining or surrounding a church which is usually owned by the relevant church or local Parish itself Dissection (also called anatomization) is usually the process of disassembling and observing something to determine its internal structure and as an aid to discerning the function Anatomy (from the Greek anatomia, from ana separate apart from and temnein, to cut up cut open is a branch of Biology that is the consideration Medical education A medical school or faculty of medicine is a Tertiary educational institution—or part of such an institution—that teaches Medicine Those who practised body-snatching or grave robbing were often called resurrectionists or resurrection-men. Grave robbing, grave robbery or tomb raiding is the act of uncovering a Tomb or Crypt to Steal the artifacts (as Illicit 
Before the Anatomy Act of 1832, the only legal supply of corpses for anatomical purposes in the UK were those condemned to death and dissection by the courts. The Anatomy Act 1832 (2 & 3 Will IV c75 was a United Kingdom Act of Parliament that expanded the legal supply of Cadavers for Medical research Those who were sentenced to dissection by the courts were often guilty of comparatively harsher crimes. While something like stealing food might get you a prison sentence, people guilty of murder may be sentenced to death and dissection. Even these punishments did not provide enough subjects for the medical schools and private anatomical schools (which required no licence before 1832). While in the 1700s, hundreds had been executed for trivial crimes, by the 19th century only 55 people were being hanged each year. The 19th century of the Common Era began on January 1, 1801 and ended on December 31, 1900, according to the Gregorian calendar However, with the expansion of the medical schools, as many as 500 were needed.
Before electric power to supply refrigeration, bodies would rapidly decay and become unusable for study. Therefore, the medical profession turned to body-snatching to supply the shortfall of bodies fresh enough for the organs, flesh etc to be examined.
Stealing a corpse was only a misdemeanour at common law, not a felony, and was therefore only punishable with fine and imprisonment, rather than transportation or execution. A misdemeanor, or misdemeanour, in many common law legal systems is a "lesser" criminal act Common law refers to law and the corresponding legal system developed through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive In Common law legal systems a felony is a serious Crime, often contrasted with a Misdemeanor. The trade was a sufficiently lucrative business to run the risk of detection, particularly as the authorities tended to turn a blind eye to what they considered a necessary evil.
Body-snatching became so prevalent that it was not unusual for relatives and friends of someone who had just died to watch over the body until burial, and then to keep watch over the grave after burial, to stop it being violated. Iron coffins, too, were frequently used, or the graves were protected by a framework of iron bars called mortsafes, well-preserved examples of which may still be seen in Greyfriars churchyard, Edinburgh. Mortsafes were contraptions designed to protect the bodies of the dead from disturbance Greyfriars Kirk, today Greyfriars Tolbooth & Highland Kirk, is a Parish Kirk ( church) of the Church of Scotland in central Edinburgh Edinburgh ( ˈɛdɪnb(ərə Dùn Èideann) is the Capital of Scotland and is its second largest city after Glasgow. In the Netherlands, poorhouses were accustomed to receiving a small fee by undertakers who paid a fine for ignoring burial laws and resold the bodies (especially those with no family) to doctors. The Netherlands ( Dutch:, ˈnedərlɑnt is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands the Netherlands
One method the body-snatchers used was to dig at the head end of a recent burial, digging with a wooden spade (quieter than metal). When they reached the coffin (in London the graves were quite shallow), they broke open the coffin, put a rope around the corpse and dragged it out. They were careful not to steal anything such as jewellery or clothes as this would leave them open to a felony charge.
The Lancet reported another method. This article is about the journal For other uses of the term "lancet" see Lancet (disambiguation. A manhole-sized square of turf was removed 15ft to 20ft away from the head of the grave, and a tunnel dug to intercept the coffin, which would be about 4ft down. The end of the coffin would be pulled off, and the corpse pulled up through the tunnel. The turf was then replaced, and any relatives watching the graves would not notice the small, remote disturbance. The article suggests that the number of empty coffins that have been discovered "proves beyond a doubt that at this time body-snatching was frequent".
In 1827 and 1828, Edinburgh resurrectionists Burke and Hare shifted their tactics from grave-robbing to murder, as they were paid more for the very fresh corpses. The Burke and Hare murders (also known as the West Port murders) Their activities, and those of the London Burkers who imitated them, led to the passage of the Anatomy Act 1832. The London Burkers were a group of Body snatchers, operating in London, who apparently modelled their activities on those of the notorious Burke and Hare The Anatomy Act 1832 (2 & 3 Will IV c75 was a United Kingdom Act of Parliament that expanded the legal supply of Cadavers for Medical research This allowed unclaimed bodies and those donated by relatives to be used for the study of anatomy, and required the licensing of anatomy teachers, which essentially ended the body-snatching trade. The use of bodies for scientific research in the UK is now governed by the Human Tissue Authority. The Human Tissue Authority is a UK Non-Departmental Public Body created by the Human Tissue Act 2004.
The practice was also common in other parts of the Empire, such as Canada, where religious customs as well as the lack of means of preservation made it hard for medical students to obtain a steady supply of fresh bodies. The British Empire was the largest empire in history and for over a century was the foremost global power. Country to "Dominion of Canada" or "Canadian Federation" or anything else please read the Talk Page In many instances the students had to resort to fairly regular body-snatching.
While studying in Paris, Vesalius was accustomed to robbing the Paris graveyards with fellow anatomy pupils. Paris (ˈpærɨs in English; in French) is the Capital of France and the country's largest city Andreas Vesalius ( Brussels, December 31, 1514 - Zakynthos, October 15, 1564) was an anatomist, Physician
Approximately 312 bodies are snatched per month from those hired to "body snatch".
There are also modern-day reports of body snatching, although this is very rare. One notorious case in the United Kingdom involved the theft of the remains of Gladys Hammond from Yoxall Churchyard near Lichfield in south Staffordshire. Yoxall is a large Village in Staffordshire, England. It is on the banks of the River Swarbourn on the A515 road north of Lichfield is a city and Civil parish in Staffordshire, England. Staffordshire (abbreviated Staffs) is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. Mrs Hammond's remains were taken by animal rights extremists who were campaigning against Darley Oaks Farm, a licensed facility which bred guinea pigs for scientific research. "Animal liberation" redirects here for other uses see Animal liberation (disambiguation. Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs (SNGP was a six-year campaign by British Animal rights activists to close a farm in Newchurch, Staffordshire that bred The Guinea pig (also commonly called the cavy after its scientific name Cavia porcellus) is a species of Rodent belonging to the family Caviidae Mrs Hammond was the mother in law of one of the farm's owners. After a four-year investigation by Staffordshire Police four leaders of the Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs campaign group (three men: Kerry Whitburn of Edgbaston, John Smith of Wolverhampton, John Ablewhite of Manchester; and one woman: Josephine Mayo of Staffordshire) were jailed for conspiracy to blackmail. Staffordshire Police is the Home Office police force responsible for policing Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent in the West Midlands of Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs (SNGP was a six-year campaign by British Animal rights activists to close a farm in Newchurch, Staffordshire that bred The men received 12 years each and the woman received four years. The police said the conspiracy included the theft of Mrs Hammond's remains, which were recovered by police following information given by one of the four.
There is still a demand for corpses for transplantation surgery in the form of allografts, and modern body-snatchers feed this demand. An allograft or allogeneic transplant or homograft is a transplant in which transplanted cells, tissues, or organs are sourced from  Tissue such gained is medically unsafe and unusable. The broadcaster Alistair Cooke's bones were allegedly cut up by body-snatchers before his cremation
There were widely publicized body-snatching cases in 2007–2008. Alistair Cooke should not be confused with Alastair Cook, English cricketer Jack Takamore died in August 2007. His partner of more than 20 years wanted to bury him in Christchurch. Christchurch (Ōtautahi The largest City in the South Island, it is also the second largest city and third largest urban area of New Zealand His relatives, however, took his body without permission from his partner and buried him in Kutarere, Bay of Plenty. History According to local Māori traditions, the Bay of Plenty was the landing point of several migration canoes that brought Māori settlers to New Zealand In December 2007, Tina Marshall-McMenamin was supposed to be buried in Lower Hutt, but her biological father took and buried her near Ruatoria. The town of Ruatoria is located in the East Coast region of New Zealand 's North Island. In March 2008, Ivy May Ngahooro wrote in her will that she be buried Hamilton, but a daughter she hadn't seen in 20 years turned up during the funeral and took her to Taumarunui, planning to bury her there instead. Hamilton ( Kirikiriroa in Māori) is the centre of New Zealand 's fourth largest Urban area, and is the country's seventh largest City Taumarunui is a Town in the King Country of the central North Island of New Zealand. After negotiations, she was brought back to and buried in Hamilton.
According to New Zealand law, a body cannot be owned, therefore, body-snatching is not illegal and the police cannot act.