National Grid has been fined £2 million after admitting breaching health and safety that resulted in the death of a Burnley schoolboy in 2014.

Robbie Williamson, from Burnley Lancashire, died whilst playing at Leeds and Liverpool Canal with his friends in April 2014, after he slipped off the exposed pipework into the water.

At the Preston crown court, National Grid pleaded guilty to neglecting the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was ordered to pay the £2 million after admitting it failed to safely secure the exposed pipework to prevent injuries.

As there was no access prevention measures put into place, Robbie Williamson and his two friends were able to climb onto the pipes from a busy footpath.

Inspector at the health and safety executive, Ian Redshaw said:  “This was a tragic accident which has had a devastating impact on Robbie’s family and friends.

“The company failed to assess the risks associated with this pipe to members of the public, and as a result they had not put in place any measures to prevent or deter access onto the pipe. This was a significant cause in Robbie’s death.”

Since 1903 only maintenance work has been carried out on the pipe, and since the incident measures have been put into place to block access to the pipe.

The National Grid have said in a statement: “We’re deeply sorry for what happened to Robbie Williamson. We put guards in place on the gas pipe shortly after the accident and also on other similar crossings throughout our network too.

“We contacted other utility companies to make sure they were aware of what had happened so that they could take action as well.”