A Huntingdon-based haulier has been fined more than £500,000 after a tipper vehicle driven by one of its employees came into contact with an overhead power line.

The incident, which happened on March 9, 2016, saw a Mick George vehicle come into contact with overhead power lines during the constriction of a waste transfer station.

Northampton Crown Court heard that the driver was emptying a load of soil from his tipper vehicle at a site in Northampton. Mick George had already identified the need for permanent protection structures but, after an initial delay, only one was installed.

In order for the driver to empty the final remnants of the loads from his vehicle, he pulled forward with the body raised and the vehicle touched the 33kV overhead power lines.

The vehicle suffered minor damage and the driver was not hurt.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) determined that Mick George Ltd should have assessed the risks from the overhead power lines more rigorously and realised its system of work was inadequate to reduce the risk of the tipper vehicles striking an overhead power line.

The firm, based in Lancaster Way, Huntingdon, pleaded guilty to a breach of regulation 25 of construction regulations 2015.

The company was fined £566,670 and was ordered to pay costs of £9,000.

HSE inspector Stuart Parry, speaking after the sentencing, said: "Every year in the UK, two people are killed and many more injured when mechanical plant and machinery comes into contact or close proximity to overhead power lines. This was a very serious incident and it is fortunate nobody was injured as a result.

"A suitable and sufficient assessment would have identified the need to contact the distribution network operator, Western Power, to request the lines were diverted underground prior to the commencement of construction.

"If this was not reasonably practicable, Mick George should have erected goalposts either side of the power lines to warn drivers about them."

Mick George Ltd was contacted by the Hunts Post for comment.