FLY-tippers were today being hunted after deadly asbestos was dumped in a Blackpool back alley.
Neighbours in South Shore were shocked to discover a large load of industrial waste including asbestos sheeting had been jettisoned behind their homes – blocking their garages.
It is the second time this year rubbish has been left in the alley between Bournemouth Road and Boscombe Road – and officials today warned even the slightest exposure to asbestos can kill.
Blackpool’s deputy coroner Christopher Beverley, who sees the tragic consequences of coming into contact with asbestos through carrying out inquests in the resort, said deaths from mesothelioma, which is a form of cancer, were increasing.
He said: “Dumping asbestos like this is creating a potential health hazard.
“Asbestos is a very dangerous substance. You only need a small amount of contact. For example, we have had a case where a wife died from mesothelioma after coming into contact with asbestos from washing her husband’s work clothes.”
Retired firefighter Geoff Salthouse, of Bournemouth Road, branded the perpetrators as “totally irresponsible.”
He said: “It is the second time asbestos has been dumped here. I want the council to track down whoever has done this and prosecute them.
“Someone has tipped asbestos sheeting off a wagon without an ounce of respect for the people who live down here.
“There are children who play in the alleys who could be exposed to fragments.”
It is thought the rubbish, including furniture and bin bags of household waste was dumped overnight on Monday by an organised group who charge to collect rubbish from people’s homes and then fail to dispose of it properly.
Council workers, in protective clothing, removed the debris after it was spotted at around 9am yesterday.
Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for streets and transport for Blackpool Council, said: “All fly tipping is a crime, but this is exceptionally serious.
“It goes without saying how dangerous asbestos can be. We believe that this has been done by an organised group, and will use all methods at our disposal to catch the culprits and bring them to justice.”
Fly-tipping is an arrestable offence, with magistrates able to hand out fines of up to £50,000 or prison sentences of up to 12 months.
The most serious cases of fly tipping carry a prison sentence of up to five years.
Blackpool Council has installed alley gates on some streets in the resort in a bid to curb the crime.
Squires Gate ward councillor Douglas Green said: “Whoever tipped this rubbish should be thoroughly ashamed because they are putting children at risk.”