A Prison Officers’ Association (POA) member from County Durham has received compensation of £220,832 with help from Thompsons Solicitors after contracting asbestos-related lung cancer.

The retired carpenter was employed in various prisons between 1963 and 1995 where he carried out maintenance work on prison buildings.

He worked in a one prison from 1964 to 1977 renovating its commercial laundry room. As part of the renovation, he was asked to remove asbestos corrugated sheeting, cut new asbestos sheets, lay asbestos floor tiles and renew lagging on heating pipes. He also mixed the asbestos plaster while other workers stripped asbestos insulation from pipework, steam presses and irons.

In September 2014, he began to feel unwell and visited a doctor. He was diagnosed with lung cancer caused by asbestos.

The ex-carpenter contacted the POA and instructed asbestos disease specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate a claim for compensation on his behalf.

The member said: “I’d worked with asbestos for most of my career but when I got diagnosed with cancer it was a huge shock.

“The support from my union and Thompsons has been faultless. It’s reassuring to know that my family are now financially secure and we don’t have to worry about the cost of any treatment.”

Glyn Travis, of the POA, said: “Asbestos-related cancers are often associated with industries like shipbuilding, but the reality is that this disease affects workers everywhere, including prison employees.

“The settlement will give our member and his family security following the diagnosis of this terrible illness. We’re grateful to Thompsons for its help in this case.”

Anthony Hood, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “We secured compensation by working closely with our client to find exactly when and where he was exposed to asbestos.

“We have a specialist team who deal with hundreds of asbestos-related cases every day and are determined to obtain the maximum compensation in the shortest possible time for our clients and their families.”