Scam operating company heavily fined after director jailed for illegally removing asbestos

Asbestos Boss Limited removed an asbestos insulating board ceiling from a domestic integral garage in Stockport.
Asbestos Boss Limited removed an asbestos insulating board ceiling from a domestic integral garage in Stockport.

An unlicensed asbestos removal company has been fined £80k after its director was jailed last month after failing to ensure the safe removal of the dangerous product.

In September 2021, Asbestos Boss Limited removed an asbestos insulating board ceiling from a domestic integral garage with little to no control measures in place. The asbestos waste was then dumped at the property of the resident, littering the road and pavement with asbestos material.

The company, directed and managed by Daniel Luke Cockcroft, was advertised as a licensed asbestos removal company, despite falsifying asbestos training certificates and insurance documents, and removed licensable material from domestic properties. Asbestos Boss had also provided fake air test certificates and waste transfer notes to customers. The company and Daniel Cockcroft also breached a prohibition notice on several occasions.

The joint investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Stockport Trading Standards revealed a number of similar cases of licensed work being done across the country. There were little to no precautions taken and so their own workers, as well as anybody at the premises they were working on, were at serious risk of exposure to asbestos.

The additional sites identified by Stockport Trading Standards proved that Asbestos Boss had breached the Prohibition Notice and caused additional spread and exposure. One such case was the removal of asbestos insulating board from 20 service cupboards which Asbestos Boss charged £3,000 for their illegal work. The work was of such poor quality, it has resulted in the site owners receiving remedial quotes from licensed contractors in the region of £50,000-£64,000 to make them safe.

Daniel Cockcroft pleaded guilty to all charges on 10 March at Manchester Magistrate’s Court and was immediately imprisoned for 10 months and ordered to pay victim compensation.

At the same hearing, Asbestos Boss was found guilty of breaching regulations 8(1) and 11(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The business was also found guilty of one charge relating to the failure to comply with a prohibition notice at two separate addresses which prevented them from working with licensed asbestos materials. The company was also sentenced in relation to its conviction for fraud in relation to falsifying training certificates, a business insurance document and unauthorised use of trade association logos.

In the sentencing hearing held on 12 April, the company failed to attend or offer any mitigation and was sentenced to pay a fine of £80,000 as well as compensating the victims for the full costs of the work paid for at the time. This combined compensation order totalled around £10,000.

Matt Greenly, inspector at HSE, said: “Asbestos is a killer. Companies and their directors need to recognise the dangers of removing asbestos by themselves both to their employees and others. Asbestos removal should only be carried out by trained personnel who understand the risks and how to control them.

“Asbestos Boss have deliberately removed a highly dangerous material resulting in a significant risk of exposure to cancer causing asbestos. They not only have put their customers at risk but have also undoubtedly put themselves, their workers, and their families at serious risk.

“In sentencing the company to such a large fine, Judge Begley said that a message needed to be sent out to anyone who involves themselves in this sort of a scam. The Judge went on to say that Asbestos Boss is a scam operator and has duped a number of people, placing them at risk from the scourge of asbestos.”

A spokesperson from Stockport Council added: “Our Trading Standards team, work closely with other agencies and will do our utmost to ensure offenders like this, who carry out work with no regard for the safety of our residents, are brought to justice.

“We are delighted that these criminals have been held to account. The message is very clear – we will not tolerate this in Stockport and will take robust action wherever possible.”

Read more about HSE and asbestos awareness here.

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