West Midlands Fire Service said the pub owner blocked fire exits with boxes and furniture, failed to install alarms and smoke detectors and blatantly disregarded safety advice given to him on seven occasions over a two year period.
The Court heard that the pub owner told inspectors ‘a string of lies’. He claimed that no one lived at the property, when in reality, there were at one time six tenants upstairs. According to the prosecutor, the pub owner already had an ‘appalling’ history of compliance with fire regulations when officers visited the property in August 2011. He told them that the pub was due to be bulldozed in the next two months. “It was a false assertion,” said the prosecutor.
In a follow up visit in January 2012, inspectors highlighted a raft of safety breaches at the pub, which included an inoperable fire alarm, fire escapes blocked with boxes and furniture and no smoke alarms throughout the building.
Further visits in May, June and July 2012 revealed the owner had done ‘absolutely nothing’ to address the issues. It was recorded that he only attempted to comply with regulations on one occasion – when he used masking tape to fit smoke detectors on the ceilings of rooms on the first floor, which were removed shortly afterwards.
The business owner was summoned to a number of interviews with fire safety officers, none of which he attended. He was eventually tracked down to another public house, where he pretended to be someone else.
The prosecutor stated to the courts that: “The defendant deliberately and systematically ignored every attempt the fire authorities made to assist him to comply with even the most basic of safety regulations. He has done so for profit and in turn has put the lives of his tenants and customers at risk. His attitude has been contemptible.”
The Pub owner admitted in court the 13 counts of breaching Fire Safety regulations. He was jailed for eight months and ordered to pay £11,130 costs.