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TWO firms have been fined tens of thousands of pounds after workers were exposed to asbestos.

PPSL District Energy Limited and VT Flagship appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court yesterday over the management of replacement pipe work at HMS Sultan, Gosport.

PPSL District Energy Limited was hired by VT Flagship to replace corroded steel pipes with plastic ones.

Traces of the poisonous substance where discovered on the old piping after it was transported to a demolition site owned by Demolition & Salvage in Hilsea, Portsmouth. Adam Wycherley, prosecuting on behalf of The Health and Safety Executive, said three site workers might have been exposed to asbestos and residents could also have been at risk from when the material was transported from HMS Sultan in an open-top wagon.

PPSL was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £4,291 in costs for failing to prevent exposure.

VT Flagship was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £5,196 because it led the work and didn’t carry out thorough safety checks.

Paul Thompson, chairman of the bench, said: ‘Asbestos here has damaged the good name of both companies.’ The matter related to work in 2009.