Small businesses have been urged to review their risk assessments and not to ignore fire safety after the owner of a newsagent in Greater Manchester was convicted for fire safety offenses.

Yakup Patel failed to carry out a risk assessment, provide a fire alarm and a means of escape from fire.

The newsagents in Bury, Lancashire was inspected by officers from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority in July 2011 and found that there was no alarm inside the building and the only escape route from upper floors were not protected from smoke or the spread of fire. Also a gate to the back of the building was found padlocked which meant that anyone trying to escape from a fire would have been trapped in a small backyard.

Officers served a prohibition notice preventing Mr Patel from using the second floor and restricting his use of the first floor to storage only, with which he complied.

He pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at Bury and Rochdale Magistrates’ Court and was fined a total of £1,000. Costs of £1,994 were also awarded against him.

In mitigation, Mr Patel said he took the matter seriously and had immediately taken remedial action. He had since spent over £32,000 on the premises and had installed a fire alarm system beyond the level required.

Peter O’Reilly, Director of Protection and Prevention at GMFRA, who took the prosecution said: ‘unfortunately Mr Patel has learned the hard way that as a business you must consider fire safety. As a result of his ignorance, he now has a criminal record. I would urge all small businesses to review their fire risk assessments and if they don’t have one to do it as soon as possible.’



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