The person in control of a Warrington restaurant has been fined after repeatedly flouting a Prohibition Notice.
Mohammed Abdul Hannan Miah, 31, of Howgill Crescent, Oldham, pleaded guilty to eight offences at Warrington Magistrates Court on Wednesday 16 April 2014.
The offences related to a lack of fire alarm, no fire risk assessment being carried out, a lack of general fire precautions, a lack of suitable escape routes, and failing to comply with a Prohibition Notice on at least 4 occasions.
He was fined £1020 and ordered to pay £1000 in costs.
Following numerous attempts to arrange a fire safety audit at The Spice of India Restaurant on Widnes Road, Warrington, the premises was visited in July 2011.
During this visit it was identified that members of staff were sleeping on the premises, which was a serious concern as there were not adequate fire safety standards in the premises. As a result of this a Prohibition Notice was issued to stop people sleeping on the first and second floors in substandard accommodation.
Follow up visits identified breaches of the notice and no improvements were made with regards to the fire safety standards to the upper floors of the premises.
Officers from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Fire Protection Team began to compile a case file to support prosecution. What followed was a lengthy and complicated investigation involving three people and the company itself.
Between 13 July 2011 and 22 March 2012 there were four occasions where it was identified that the Prohibition Notice was breached, constituting an offence which posed a serious risk to life in the event of a fire.
Three men were interviewed under caution and the Service worked closely with the Borders Agency during the investigation, who removed a number of illegal immigrants and over stayers following a joint visit to the premises in March 2013.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service initially pursued a case against three men and the company, but the case against two men and the company was dropped and Miah pleaded guilty to the eight offences.
Miah is no longer in charge of the premises.
Head of Community Fire Protection Keith Brooks said: “This has been a difficult investigation to prosecute due to initial confusion surrounding the identities of the men we interviewed, and I am pleased to see that we have reached a positive outcome. Mr Miah now has a criminal record as well as the fine to pay and this case shows that we take any breaches of fire safety extremely seriously. We will do everything in our power to ensure people do not disregard measures we put in place to ultimately save lives.
“I am pleased to know that the internal alterations to the premises that we advised them were required back in 2011 have now started to be made, and we will ensure they are fully adhered to before removing the Prohibition Notice.”
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service urges all landlords and business owners to take their fire safety obligations seriously to avoid prosecution. Any tenants who have concerns about fire safety should contact the Service.