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Northampton restaurant owner fined for breaching Prohibition Notice

15 January 2024

NORTHAMPTON RESTAURANT owner Xiong Yin, who compromised fire safety by repeatedly allowing workers to sleep at the Tummy Yummy Ltd premises in Duston, has been fined for breaching a Prohibition Notice served by the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.

In February last year, members of the Protection Team based within the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service received intelligence to the effect that the restaurant premises was being used as accommodation for some of the employees. In tandem with colleagues from West Northamptonshire Council, a fire protection officer inspected the premises and found that store rooms in the basement had actually been converted into bedrooms.

In addition to this, the inspection process unearthed the fact that fire alarms at the premises were faulty and escape and access routes were inadequate, raising the risk that occupants would not be warned if a fire started and could end up being trapped in the building during an emergency.

Restaurant owner Yin was subsequently served with a Prohibition Notice by the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service on 14 February, which banned individuals from sleeping on the premises. However, a follow-up inspection three days later found evidence that the term of the Prohibition Notice had already been breached.

Yin was then charged with breaching the Prohibition Notice. He pleaded guilty to the charge during a hearing conducted at Northampton Magistrates’ Court (pictured above alongside Northampton Fire Station) on 29 November and was ordered to pay a £4,000 fine, a victim surcharge of £1,600 and costs amounting to £750.

Sending a strong message

Following the court hearing, Scott Richards (head of protection at the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service) said: “As a Fire and Rescue Service, we have to act quickly when we receive intelligence that premises may not be meeting the high standards required when it comes to fire safety.”

Richards continued: “Primarily, our aim is to make sure that premises meet those standards so they can ensure the safety of both their customers and staff. We will work with and help venues to make sure they reach that point. On this occasion, we served a Prohibition Notice and it was then ignored. Fire safety should never be an afterthought, so if someone chooses to repeatedly ignore our concerns or otherwise fails to comply with our Prohibition Notices, we have to send a strong message. That’s what we’ve done on this occasion.”

In conclusion, Richards observed: “The Magistrates rightly recognised the risk that was being taken at this premises. We hope the outcome of this case serves as a timely reminder for any business owners or landlords. It’s incredibly important for them to comply with their fire safety responsibilities.”

The Protection Team at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service visited upwards of 1,000 premises in 2022 to help improve fire safety. The recent change in fire safety legislation – affecting SMEs such as restaurants and takeaways – means that some smaller businesses may need to take extra steps to ensure compliance.

Businesses can contact the Protection Team at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service for specialist advice and to receive a bespoke safety approach. Send an e-mail to fireprotection@northantsfire.gov.uk

*Further information is available online at www.northantsfire.gov.uk