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Town at Risk from Asbestos

A roofing contractor showed "wilful disregard" for public safety when it spread asbestos fibres around a Leicestershire town while using pressurised water washers to clean roof panels on industrial units.

Hampshire-based Concept Roofing & Cladding Services Ltd was contracted to carry out repairs to a dozen industrial units in Bath Street, Market Harborough, between December 2008 and January 2009.

Leicester magistrates heard the problem was discovered when asbestos was found outside the units by a Leicestershire County Council health and safety consultant on 22 January.

The Health and Safety Executive, which brought the prosecution, told magistrates that the company used pressure washers to clean asbestos cement roofing panels, which blasted the harmful material into the environment.

When it became apparent what was happening, work was stopped immediately and local traders had to close for several months while a qualified asbestos removal company carried out a safe programme of removal causing major disruption in the town.

During the subsequent clean-up operation, traces of the material were found on walls, in drains and at a bus stop.

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