Wellow businessman admits fire safety breaches which ran ‘risks with the lives of others’

Nottingham Crown Court

Nottingham Crown Court

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A Wellow businessman has been fined £22,000 and ordered to pay £78,000 costs for a series of fire safety offences which put the public at risk.

David Chapelhow (48) admitted six charges relating to deficiencies in the fire risk assessment, means of escape and fire alarms, as well as a failure to comply with enforcement notices relating to two properties where he provided holiday accommodation.

In passing sentence at Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday, Judge Dickinson said Chapelow had ignored the advice of fire officers and repeated warnings when they visited the premises on Newark Road in the village.

He added that he had deliberately and persistently run risks with the lives of others.

Judge Dickinson said he feared it was not about saving money but more a case of ‘stubbornness, pig-headedness and picking a fight with fire officers rather than working with them’, that had led to Chapelhow to fail to carry out the necessary improvements.

Group manager John Mills, head of fire protection at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “However, despite initial assurances to officers that the work would be undertaken, Mr Chapelhow repeatedly chose to ignore the advice given and failed to make the necessary improvements to the properties.

“It is therefore extremely disappointing that this situation has resulted in the case being brought to Crown Court, and with Mr Chapelhow pleading guilty to six charges for which he now faces a large fine.

“The fire and rescue service has a statutory duty to ensure that businesses throughout the county provide the correct levels of fire safety and, where possible, we will work with business owners to assist them to comply with current legislation and ensure the safety of their employees and customers.

“This sentence sends a very strong message to the owners and managers of premises regarding their legal responsibilities and the potential result of ignoring them, but it also sends a very positive message to those conscientious landlords and property managers who ensure their staff and customers are kept safe.

“No customer, employee or member of the public should ever be put at risk of fire in any premises, and the legislation exists to safeguard against this. It is only right, therefore, that we should pursue any business owner who chooses to ignore his or her legal fire safety obligations, and the appropriate action is taken against them.”