Heavy fine for fire safety breaches

A Lake District inn and its director have been fined thousands of pounds for breaching fire safety regulations.

Derek Sweeney, 57, a director of the Travellers Rest at Grasmere appeared at Kendal Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Tuesday 11 June) charged with six breaches relating to a property he owns in Field Foot, Grasmere.

An investigation by Cumbria County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service last summer found the property, being used as a house for staff working at the Travellers Rest, breached the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 by having no fire alarm, no fire extinguishers, not having a sufficient fire risk assessment and lacking fire doors and a fire escape.

The Travellers Rest was also charged with the breaches alongside Sweeney who pleaded guilty to the six charges on behalf of both himself and the company.

Magistrates imposed a £750 fine for each of the breaches for Mr Sweeny and the same for the company of Travellers Rest totalling £9,000. Costs of £3,800 were awarded to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and £1,500 to the solicitor representing CFRS. There was also a sum of £120 victim support issued making a final total of £14,420.

After financial discussions with the court, the defendants were given five months in which to pay.

Cumbria’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Adrian Buckle, said: “This prosecution demonstrates that we will thoroughly investigate and appropriately pursue those businesses and individuals who recklessly ignore fire safety and potentially put lives at risk.

“I’m pleased the court recognised the serious nature of these breaches and this case should act as a warning to others who don’t have the correct fire safety measures in place.”

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