VOLUNTEERS who helped clear debris from the former Odeon cinema in St Albans have been asked to contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

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Dangerous asbestos is currently being stripped out of the derelict theatre, which is undergoing a major restoration project and is now called the Odyssey Cinema.

The fibre was discovered during a building survey, in the likes of insulation and noise reduction panels, floor tiles, fire retardation material and in the boiler room.

But that survey is understood to have been carried out after about 30 volunteers cleared out the interior of the art deco building in April last year.

HSE recently served a prohibition notice on the cinema to stop work immediately – asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK.

A spokesman for the executive said: “The circumstances of the work carried out in the former Odeon cinema and whether or not anyone was exposed to asbestos are being fully investigated by HSE.

“Any volunteers who helped to clear debris from the building and who feel they may be able to assist the HSE investigation are asked to contact our divisional complaints team on 01256 404142 to log their details.

“This will enable HSE investigators to contact them in due course.”

St Albans based Borras Construction, the Odyssey’s main contractor during its £1.6 million rebuild, has said that the asbestos removal process, which began last month, would take nine weeks to complete.

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