A WHISTLEBLOWER rumbled his own bosses after a secret spraying booth left him coughing up paint particles.

Bosses at Laser Shapes, in Blackburn, had created a poorly-ventilated spray paint enclosure at their premises in Witton Mill for their fabricated metal products, Preston Crown Court heard.

And when Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors visited, to probe unrelated complaints about welding fumes, the booth was hidden away, the court was told.

But worker Christopher Hudson, whose health had been devastated by having to work inside the room, sent the HSE damning photos.

Former company owner James Harrison, 76, of Old Corn Mill Fold, Silsden, near Keighley, has now been given a 10-month suspended jail sentence, after being convicted of health and safety offences.

Passing sentence, Judge Robert Altham said: "That room represented a real risk to the health of people you employed."

The judge also told Harrison, who must carry out 200 hours community service and pay £5,458 court costs, that using hazardous solvents inside the booth had also created the risk of an explosion.

Rosalind Emsley-Smith, prosecuting, said Harrison became very aggressive when challenged about the spray paint operation's existence and attempted to deny all knowledge of it.

She told the court Mr Hudson, a father-of-three, had been left using inhalers and the prognosis for his eventual recovery were uncertain.

Andrew Hudson, defending, said his client's life had begun to fall apart after the death of his wife in January 2017.

Harrison had been attempting to keep Laser Shapes and its 40 employees afloat at the time while failing to cope with the loss, the court heard.

The defendant,. who was now retired after the firm's collapse, was "ashamed" he had put his employees in jeopardy, added Mr Hudson.