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Guilty to serious breaches of fire safety

National pub group, Punch Pub Company Limited, have pleaded guilty to serious breaches of fire safety legislation. They have been order to pay £17,000 in fines and costs, following a prosecution brought by the London Fire Brigade.

Guilty to serious breaches of fire safety

Sentencing took place on Thursday the 3rd of September, at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court, after the Punch Pub Group Limited pleaded guilty to two infringements of the Regulatory Reform Order.

Numerous fire safety breaches within The Barley Mow Public House on Duke Street, London, were highlighted by officers on the September 24th inspections in 2004. The third and fourth floors of the premises were found being used for residential purposes, with the fourth floor a great distance from the nearest fire exit. In addition to this, the fire escape which would be used, was also deemed to have inadequate fire protection. A fire risk assessment, commissioned in 2003, identified the same risks but they were ignored by the company. As a result of the findings, a prohibition notice was served, restricting the fourth floor rooms being used for storage purposes.
The premises were visited again on 15 October 2007 and the fourth floor was found being used as living quarters. Moreover, combustible items on the third floor, were partially blocking the escape route from the fourth floor.

Assistant Commissioner for fire safety regulation Steve Turek said: "It is important all premises owners and operators have a fire risk assessment and even more importantly act upon its findings in a timely manner. The prohibition notice in this case was served to ensure the safety of people using the premises. Notices must be taken very seriously and followed explicitly."

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