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A roofer has been fined after risking his safety and the health of others as he attempted to paint elevated shop frontages in Southampton.

Filmed by a local council environment health worker, George Nicholls was found placing his ladder on the roof of his van to reach the upper floors of shop premises. The 25-year-old was seen extending the ladder to its full height of eight metres, with it only being secured by Mr Nicholls' colleague.

Hearing the case, Southampton Magistrates’ Court was also told that Mr Nicholls had not adequately secured the site to protect passing people.

Instead, the court heard, Mr Nicholls, who was trading under Laser Roofing London and South East Roofing Limited on the job, should have used an elevated platform or scaffolding to reach the upper parts of the shops. Personal protective equipment (PPE) should also have been used.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation also discovered that the van that he worked atop of was obstructing double yellow lines and a bus stop. As well as revealing a further lack of regard, this meant that adequate licensing had also not been sought, which would have resulted in a properly secured and segregated area.

Speaking after the case, the HSE inspector working on the case, Frank Flannery, commented:

“…why a supposedly competent roofer chose to work in this way is anyone’s guess.”

Finding the worker guilty, the court handed Mr Nicholls down a fine and costs totalling £4,666 for the breach of height working regulations.

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