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Restaurant handed £85,000 fine for serious fire safety breaches

A successful prosecution was brought by Royal Berkshire Fire Authority against a restaurant in Cookham, which resulted in a £85,000 fine following a number of serious fire safety breaches under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Beta UK Limited was sentenced for fire safety breaches found by Fire Safety Inspecting Officers following an incident at Malik’s Restaurant, Cookham in Maidenhead.

On 23 October 2020, Reading Magistrates’ Court heard that a serious fire broke out in the early hours of 6 December 2016.

An investigation by Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) found that there were a number of fire safety deficiencies found in the property, which included insufficient fire alarm and detection in the residential part of the building and a lack of compliant fire doors.

Beta UK Limited pleaded guilty to six charges under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The defendant company was sentenced to a financial penalty of £85,000 and the Authority was awarded the prosecution cost.

Beta UK Limited appealed the conviction and the appeal was heard on 6 May 2021 at Reading Crown Court. The Court upheld the financial fine of £85,000 and awarded the prosecution cost.

Jess James, Area Manager at RBFRS, said: “As this case strongly illustrates, complying with fire safety legislation is not optional. Failure to do so can put people’s lives at risk. We will always work with businesses but, as with this case, we won’t hesitate to prosecute if members of our communities are put at risk.”

Councillor Colin Dudley, Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority said: “The majority of business owners comply with fire safety legislation but as this case shows, the consequences of failing to comply are serious. Following the incident in December 2016, our teams have worked to ensure that the owner of this restaurant was not able to escape the law.

“The message is clear – all business owners have a duty to help keep their staff and our communities safe. If they put anyone at risk by breaking the law, we will prosecute.”

As well as conducting inspections, RBFRS provides comprehensive advice and this is available free on its website. You can find out more about business safety on the RBFRS website