Scafell Securities Limited, based in Buckinghamshire, has been fined a total of £4,000, plus a £50 victim surcharge, and ordered to pay costs of £10,000 after pleading guilty to a charge brought under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
The company, represented by Director Mr Simon Hill, pleaded guilty at Slough Magistrates Court on Thursday 13 March for failing to take adequate fire precautions in respect of a residential block of flats in Berkley Court, Coley Avenue, Reading. The company was allowed time to pay.
Royal Berkshire Fire Authority (RBFA) brought the charge following inspections of the premises between 16 and 25 November 2011 by fire safety officers. The court heard that the company held a 50% ownership of the premises, which comprised of 34 individual residential flats. The inspections identified significant contraventions of fire safety regulations. These included:
- Inadequate fire protection for flat entrance doors opening onto fire escape routes
- Storage material within the ground, first and second floors of the fire escape route
The case was heard by District Judge Vickers who was informed that the contraventions to fire safety regulations placed relevant persons at serious risk of death or injury.
Summing up, Judge Vickers acknowledged the company’s early guilty plea and the mitigation offered by the defence.
David Walden, RBFA’s Fire Safety Legal Support Manager, said: “Scafell Securities Limited failed to comply with fire safety regulations and, by doing so, placed the residents of these flats at serious risk of injury or even death.
“One of RBFA’s responsibilities is to enforce fire safety regulations in Berkshire and we are duty bound to bring cases such as this before the courts. We hope that this case sends a clear message to businesses that complying with fire safety legislation is not optional and that failure to do so can result not only in prosecution but also in financial penalties.”