Residents living at Brays Close in Crediton, Devon fear that recent building work has disturbed one of the most dangerous forms of asbestos, contained in soffits under the eaves.

Mid Devon District Council said the work, carried out by contractors, “may not have complied fully with regulations”.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed it was investigating as residents were not warned to close their windows when the council’s contractors were removing soffits.

Independent testing of samples found at the site after the work showed the material contained amosite, a highly dangerous form of asbestos often known as brown asbestos.

Resident Peter Bearder said: “The council didn’t even inform us this work was taking place and that we should keep our windows shut. After discussing this with various asbestos managers they have informed me that the manner it was removed was totally out of order. It was wrong.”

Nick Sanderson, head of housing at the council, said: “We are taking this matter seriously. “We have notified the HSE that the removal of the soffits may not have complied fully with regulations in force at the time.

“We have also instructed a specialist asbestos contractor to carry out a thorough survey of the area to determine if there are still any asbestos-containing materials on site.

“If found, these will be analysed and the contractor will inform us straight away if any potential risks are identified.

“We apologise for any concerns residents of the flats may have and we are contacting them to explain what has happened and will continue to keep them updated.”

If you or a family member have been affected by asbestos exposure please contact us today on Freephone 0800 294 3065 or speak to us on live chat.