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Prosecuted Scunthorpe takeaway owner “knowingly put lives at risk”

15 July 2021

A “FLAGRANT breach” of a Prohibition Notice has cost the owner of Star’s Pizza on Old Brumby Street in Scunthorpe a £3,000 fine and around £12,500 in costs. The Humberside Fire and Rescue Service brought the prosecution after Mustafa Gunes knowingly put the safety of his employees and those using the living space above the shop in jeopardy. The breaches also put the lives of customers at risk.

The Prohibition Notice was served on 20 September 2019 and instructed the owner of the premises not to use the first floor as the measures in relation to protection from fire were deemed to be inadequate.

Appearing at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court on Friday 28 May, Gunes pleaded guilty on three counts of contravening the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and was fined £3,000. The Judge ordered that all of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service’s legal costs of £12,626 will be covered by the takeaway owner.

Business safety inspectors from the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service worked with North Lincolnshire Council’s housing team to pull together enough evidence to secure the successful prosecution. The video footage gathered when the North Lincolnshire teams gained entry to the premises was clear proof that the first floor was being used in direct violation of the Prohibition Notice.

Although the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service always aims to work with businesses to make their premises safe and minimise the risk posed to staff, the disregard for the safety of all those working at or living above Star’s Pizza left the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service prosecution team with no alternative but to pursue the matter.

Lynsey Driver, public safety manager for the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, is delighted with the verdict at court. “Our crews and inspectors enjoy an excellent reputation throughout the Humber region for working with business owners to understand their responsibilities with regards to fire safety. We hope that this ruling sends a clear message to other similar businesses that, should they be the subject of a Prohibition Notice, we will not hesitate to take a similar course of action should it be ignored.”

Driver added: “While we are thankful that a fire did not occur at these premises, the risk of death or serious injury was so great if one had broken out that we had no option but to pursue this prosecution.”

Work has now been carried out at Star’s Pizza to ensure that adequate fire safety measures are in place for any persons using the first floor of the premises.