A FAMILY is seeking compensation from a retail giant after one of their former employees died as a result of 'exposure to asbestos'. 

Thomas Hutchinson served as a store manager at the Marks & Spencer store on Blackfriars Street in Carlisle from the 1960s to around 1992. 

Mr Hutchinson had been retired for 30 years when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

He passed away in March earlier this year. 

During his time at the Carlisle branch, Mr. Hutchinson oversaw various projects, renovations, and demolitions, which are believed to have exposed him to chronic lung disease. 

One specific period of concern is between 1978 and 1980, when the two Carlisle Marks & Spencer sites were joined.

It is suspected that Mr. Hutchinson was exposed to asbestos during these works, as he was overseeing the demolition and changes to the store.

His family is now seeking compensation for his death and has instructed Oliver & Co Solicitors to investigate the case.

In an appeal for information, Mr Hutchinson's family is urging anyone who worked at the same store during his time there to come forward with any witness evidence related to the works that were carried out and possible exposure to asbestos.

This is not the first time that Marks & Spencer has faced accusations of asbestos exposure.

In 2014, damages were paid after the retailer admitted to negligently exposing a member of staff to asbestos at its Oxford Street and Uxbridge stores in London.

In 2011, the high street giant was also fined £1m for its unsafe handling of asbestos in its Reading store.

An M&S spokesperson said: "We are sorry to hear of Mr Hutchinson’s passing and our thoughts are with his family.

"We have always had policies in place that were the best they could be based on the knowledge of the time, but like many other retailers and organisations with a large property portfolio dating back to the post-war era, asbestos has historically been used as a building material in times when the consequences of its everyday use were still unknown.

"We are confident that we have the most rigorous policies in place to ensure that our stores continue to be safe for our colleagues and customers," they said.  

Anyone who may have worked with Thomas Hutchinson or at the store around the time is encouraged to get in touch with James Cameron at Oliver & Co Solicitors on 01244 354663 or james.cameron@oliverandco.co.uk.