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Brighton bomb asbestos warning after policeman dies

By Tom Pugh

Rescuers who worked at the scene of the deadly Brighton IRA bombing 32 years ago are being sought after a police officer died from an asbestos-related disease.

Police, fire and ambulance personnel who helped in the aftermath of the attack are being told they may have been exposed to asbestos fibres in the debris.

Letters are also being sent to Conservative Party members, Brighton and Hove City Council and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust telling them staff may also be affected, police said.

Five people were killed and 34 seriously injured in the Grand Hotel blast on Brighton seafront in October 1984.

The targets were Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her Tory Cabinet, who were staying at the hotel for the Conservative Party conference.

Sussex Police assistant chief constable Steve Barry, who is co-ordinating an emergency services group, stressed the possibility people may have been affected was “very small”.

He felt he had an “ethical duty” to tell people a Metropolitan Police officer who worked at the scene died of an asbestos-related disease last December.

Mr Barry said: “We are trying to identify and inform emergency service colleagues and others who may have been exposed to asbestos fibres to offer medical advice and support.

“By publicising this issue, I don’t wish to cause distress but inform people so they can seek health advice from their GP, and to reassure them that the possibility that they have been affected is very small.”

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