The owner of a takeaway and restaurant in Crewe was sentenced for putting lives at risk by failing to comply with fire regulations.
Abdul Magid Mohammad Ben Rajab, owner of Mr Pizza appeared at Chester Crown Court for sentencing on Friday 17th September after previously pleading guilty to 10 breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Mr Rajab received between 6 and 12 months custodial sentence for each breach of the fire safety order (to be served concurrently), suspended for 18 months, along with 200 hours unpaid work in the community.
Cheshire fire authority were also awarded £6,500 costs.
The investigation into the business began after firefighters attended a fire in the kitchen at the premises on 23 March 2019, which prompted concerns regarding fire safety deficiencies. Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Protection team was informed and a fire safety inspection was subsequently conducted at the site.
The building had a restaurant on the ground floor and a four bedsit house in multiple occupation on the first floor.
However, it was discovered that there were people sleeping on the ground floor, in the commercial restaurant part of the premises.
A number of serious fire safety issues were identified at the premises including the absence of smoke detectors throughout the premises and insufficient means of escape. There was also no adequate fire door between the living accommodation and first floor escape route and the downstairs kitchen.
Following the sentencing, Watch Manager Jim Bransom, of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Protection Department, said: “Not having the correct measures in place to protect those living there or visiting could end in very tragic circumstances, which is why we’re here to make sure people are protected and premises are safe.
“It was clear from the outset of our investigation that the owner had shown no regard for fire safety regulations and as a result they were putting the lives of their customers and staff at risk.
“This included the absence of even the very basic fire protection tools, such as working fire detectors and alarms.
“Despite being the ground floor being classed as commercial, this was also being used as living accommodation, with no means of escape in the event of fire.
“Thankfully, following our inspection, we were able to take immediate action against the business and remedy the unacceptable safety flaws that we uncovered.
“I hope that today’s sentencing will act as a warning to any other businesses that do not consider fire safety to be a priority.”
Lee Shears, Head of the Protection Department, added: “We encourage all business owners to review their fire risk assessments on a regular basis and ensure adequate fire safety precautions are in place.
For more information on fire risk assessments please contact our fire safety team on email@example.com or visit our web page: http://pro-firesafety.co.uk/product/fire-risk-assessments/