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25 February 2016, 13:18
The Poole-based owner of Alton Towers will face prosecution over the rollercoaster crash that saw five people injured.
Two women had to have legs amputated after two carriages collided on the Smiler ride last June.
It comes after Merlin announced profits rose to £250 million last year.
The Health and Safety Executive said Merlin Attractions will appear at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on 22 April to face a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Five people were seriously injured on the ride last June, including two women who had legs amputated after their carriage collided with a stationary carriage on the same track.
Neil Craig, head of operations for HSE in the Midlands, said: ``We have today informed Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd that it will be prosecuted for breaching health and safety law.
``This was a serious incident with life-changing consequences for five people.
``We have conducted a very thorough investigation and consider that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to bring a prosecution.''
Merlin Entertainments has seen its annual profits edge up after the accident.
The group - which also owns attractions such as Legoland, Madame Tussauds and the London Eye - said it overcame a fall in revenues at its theme parks to post a pre-tax profit rise of 0.3% to £250 million in the year to 26 December compared with a year ago.
It said Alton Towers had a ``significant'' fall in visitor numbers after the accident on 2 June 2015, which resulted in the 500-acre theme park in Staffordshire being shut down for four days.