Mr Peter Horrey traded as Absolute Asbestos Ltd, “specialising in asbestos surveys and management”, despite being unlicensed to remove asbestos.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the circumstances of an incident in London and brought a prosecution against Mr Horrey under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.
Southwark Crown Court heard that Absolute Asbestos was hired to take out all the asbestos insulation from the boiler room of a home in Camden. Mr Horrey, the sole director of the firm, did the work over eleven days in July last year.
As well as being unlicensed to remove asbestos, Mr Horrey failed to clean and decontaminate the area. He left visible fibres that were a danger to the householders and to the plumbers, who were due to start work in the boiler room.
After he was finished, an analyst who went to take an air test provided him with a certificate clearly showing the site had failed. However, Mr Horrey provided a doctored report to the owners indicating it had passed the test and was safe for them to re-enter, which they did.
Mr Horrey, of Jackson Road, Bromley, Kent, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three breaches of the asbestos regulations between 18 and 29 July 2011 at Greencroft Gardens, NW6. He was given six months' prison sentence on each charge, to run concurrently and suspended for two years; 300 hours' unpaid community service; given an electronic curfew between 9pm and 6am for three months; ordered to pay £11,340 to the affected Residents' Association in Camden and ordered to pay £10,160 costs.
After sentencing HSE inspector Dominic Elliss, who investigated the incident, said he was appalled by Mr Horrey's reckless disregard for safety in the full knowledge of the dangers caused by exposure to asbestos.
"He operated outside the safeguards provided by a licensing regime, failed to clean and decontaminate the work area and then lied to the residents of the property by providing an altered air safety test done by an analyst and informing them it was clear to re-enter.
"He clearly set out to deceive these householders but, worse than that, he was apparently content to put them and the plumbers who had been booked shortly afterwards at risk.
"Asbestos is not an historical threat. It is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK and the dangers are well-known in the construction and property industries. That is why there is a well-established licensing system with companies who are fully trained and experienced in dealing properly with asbestos of all types."