A FORMER Hanson Cement firm worker is demanding answers after he was struck down with cancer.

Pensioner Tony Condren, 75, from Leeswood, worked as a plant fitter at the former Castle Cement factory in Padeswood for 23 years.

Six years ago he was diagnosed with throat cancer and he says several of his colleagues have also suffered from or died from cancer.

He told the Leader: “I want to know how many people have had cancer who worked there. There were two of us working the same shift as fitters and we have both had cancer.

“I don’t know if it is to blame, but we were swallowing the dust, eating it and breathing it. I don’t smoke so I can’t blame it on that.”

Mr Condren underwent five weeks of treatment at The Christie Hospital and his cancer is now in remission, but doctors have warned it could come back.

He has decided to speak out after Buckley Town Council demanded a probe into the health risks for residents living close to the factory.

Councillors are asking for figures to be released under the Freedom of Information Act on the number of people living in Buckley or Padeswood suffering from cancer or respiratory diseases.

But Mr Condren wants the investigation to go even further.

He said: “They are talking about a probe into the effects of the dust on the people who live there, but I want to know about the people who worked there. We were right in the thick of the coal dust.

“The miners have been rewarded with compensation for this kind of thing so if Castle Cement is to blame then we should be rewarded.”

Site manager Mark Cox said health and safety issues were taken very seriously.

He said: “Since 1949 I am not aware of any cases where employees have had long-term illnesses that have been a direct cause of employment at Castle Cement.

“We take health and safety very seriously and we carry out rigorous checks and ongoing surveillance as far as the health of our employees is concerned.

“If anyone does have any concerns then they should contact me.”

In February the firm was fined £250,000 after Mold Crown Court heard that potentially dangerous smoke had been released from two fires at the site.