Emergency workers who helped salvage Brighton’s Grand Hotel in the aftermath of the IRA bombing in 1984 could have been exposed to asbestos, says Sussex Police.

The announcement follows the death of a police officer who developed an asbestos-related disease thirty years after being exposed to asbestos dust at the scene of the bombing.

Sussex Police assistant chief constable, Steve Barry, said that emergency workers were at a small risk of exposure to asbestos dust while working amongst the hotel debris without any adequate protection.

The force is now working to identify those who attended the scene and to offer reassurance and health information. Letters to Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, local councils and businesses have also been issued.

Asbestos exposure can lead to lung diseases including mesothelioma, pleural thickening and lung cancer.

Ian McFall, head of asbestos litigation at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Asbestos was banned from use in the 1990s, yet it continues to present a major public health risk to this day.

“The symptoms of asbestos disease can take decades to develop. It is relevant and timely for those who attended the scene as rescuers and emergency service workers some thirty years ago, to consider the information released by Sussex Police.

“We are dedicated to providing legal representation and support to asbestos victims and their families. Anyone who has been diagnosed with asbestos disease should seek expert legal advice without delay."