A method and device for the automated biopsy and collection of soft tissue having a piercing needle with a receiving port to trap tissue prior to cutting. A motor drive directs and positions the tissue receiving port at a lesion site in arbitrary positions about and along the longitudinal axis of the device. A cutter advances into the receiving chamber and severs tissue which has prolapsed into the receiving port. The severed tissue is then removed from the receiving port without removing the piercing needle receiving port from the lesion site, thus allowing for the accurate, rapid removal of an arbitrary number of core samples with only one insertion. A tissue sample cassette provides storage for the samples as well as a means for coding and decoding the location from which the samples were obtained. Together, these features allow for more accurate and complete sampling of large lesions, for the complete removal of small lesions or removal of other tissue for a variety of reasons.