Sarah Jean Earney was fined £2,500 with costs of £1,432.45 at Southampton Magistrates Court this week after admitting producing a false “certificate of packaging performance” for plastic bags used to carry asbestos waste.

Asbestos waste is classified as “dangerous for carriage” and has to be packed for transport in packaging that is tested to internationally agreed standards and certified and marked accordingly.

Mrs Earney, selling bags on behalf of Regal Polythene Ltd, which also faces charges relating to this matter, was spotted selling the bags at unusually low prices by a trade competitor.

When asked for the supporting certificate, Mrs Earney produced a false one in the name of Regal Polythene Ltd by using a photocopy of a real one she had obtained from her employer’s office.

The deception came to light as the certificate with the bags being offered bore the number of a third company.

HSE Inspector Clive Dennis who investigated the incident said: “HSE and the Department for Transport emphasise that the regime for testing and certifying packaging is crucial to the safe transport of dangerous goods and that there must be confidence in the integrity of the UK’s certification procedures. HSE will always prosecute if we find that false packaging certificates are being produced.”

By David Hopkins

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