Hefty Fine Over Fire Safety For Berkshire Pizza Firm

A company has been fined a total of £21,000, plus a £50 victim surcharge, and ordered to pay costs of £7,785.30 after pleading guilty to 10 charges.

The company, operating as ONPJ Limited, was represented by director Mr Kuldip Singh, who pleaded guilty on the company's behalf at Maidenhead Magistrates Court on Thursday 28 August for failing to take adequate fire precautions in respect of a premises trading as a pizza delivery business in Newbury, Berkshire.  

Royal Berkshire Fire Authority (RBFA) brought the charges following an inspection of the premise by Fire Safety and Environmental Health Officers on 13 January 2012. 

The inspection identified significant and serious contraventions of fire safety regulations.  These included:

o    No fire protection for fire escape routes
o    Storage material within the ground, first and second floors of the fire escape route
o    No fire alarm system
o    No emergency lighting
o    No fire risk assessment
o    No fire fighting equipment

The case was heard by District Judge Vickers, who was informed that Mr Singh appeared before the court on the company's behalf to answer the charges.

Judge Vickers acknowledged the company's early guilty plea and the mitigation that Mr Singh appeared before the court to answer the charges whilst other directors of the company had failed to do so. 

Summing up, Judge Vickers stated that the breaches to fire safety regulations had placed people at serious risk of injury.

David Walden, RBFA's Fire Safety Legal Support Manager, said:

"I hope that this case will send a clear message to businesses that complying with fire safety legislation is not optional and failure to do so can result not only in prosecution but also in significant financial penalties."

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