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Kent business duo heavily fined for breaching fire safety regulations

12 December 2022

A TAKEAWAY franchisee holder and an employer in Maidstone who allowed people to sleep in dangerous conditions at premises in what is the county town of Kent have been fined and ordered to pay £15,400 in costs.

Back in December 2018, Kent Fire and Rescue Service building fire safety inspectors visited Jano Jabbarkhel and Sharbat Khan Jabarkhail at Tops Pizza in Lower Stone Street. The duo were issued with a Prohibition Notice to prevent anyone from living in the property due to safety concerns linked to the lack of an adequate smoke alarm system and the fact that the premises didn’t have any form of protected escape route.

A Prohibition Notice, of course, is a legal direction issued by a given Fire and Rescue Service when the lack of fire safety arrangements at a premises could put people’s lives at risk if a fire episode were to occur.

During an initial follow up visit to Tops Pizza, where Jabbarkhel was the franchisee holder and Jabarkhail the named employer, Kent Fire and Rescue Service inspectors found they were complying with the requirement of the Prohibition Notice not to allow sleeping within the property as remedial works had not yet been completed.

Compliance check

However, in September 2020, when a routine compliance check was carried out, individuals were found to be sleeping in the building in contravention of the Prohibition Notice, while the unsafe conditions remained.

Jabbarkhel and Jabarkhail, both of Hastings Road in Maidstone, were sentenced at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 12 October. Each received a fine of £1,000 reduced to £733 in order to reflect their early guilty pleas for the offence. The offence being that both individuals were “a person who had control of the premises and failed to comply with a restriction imposed by a Prohibition Notice under Article 31 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, dated 21 December 2018, which was in force in respect of the premises, and specifically stated that the first floor residential rooms and common areas are prohibited for the purposes of sleeping and living accommodation.”

The duo were also each ordered to pay £7,700 in costs to the Kent Fire and Rescue Service and a victim surcharge of £66 was applied to each defendant.

Jabbarkhel and Jabarkhail are no longer associated with the business or the building in question.

Clear message

Mark Woodward, assistant director for customer and building safety at the Kent Fire and Rescue Service, stated: “The outcome of this case sends a clear and important message to anyone who’s responsible for a business. By law, they must ensure their premises and employees are safe from the risk of fire.”

Woodward concluded: “Kent Fire and Rescue Service is committed to ensuring that all buildings in Kent and Medway are fire compliant. We will take all of the necessary steps to make sure fire safety regulations are adhered to at all times, including enforcement action and prosecution if necessary.”