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£15,000 bill for restaurant that breached safety laws

A RESTAURANT has been fined thousands of pounds after it failed to adhere to “strict and vital” fire safety laws. The Wildwood restaurant in South Street was prosecuted and admitted the breach following a fire safety inspection last month. The High Street chain pleaded guilty to four charges under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. It is believed inspectors carried out a “spot check” on the restaurant following a tip-off from a concerned member of the public. The restaurant – which is based in Chichester’s South Street – was hit with a fine of £13,452 and also ordered to pay £1,962 in costs at Worthing Magistrates’ Court for the hearing which took place on May 27. The court heard that when inspectors visited the building a range of things stuck out as being potentially hazardous and as a result “serious breaches” of the law had taken place. These included fire exits being obstructed, defective emergency lighting in place and the absence of a working fire alarm inside the property. Dangerous electrics were also noted by the team of inspectors as well as wrong paperwork. It was also found that a fire risk assesment had been filled in but had not taken into account the fact that ongoing building work was taking place on the second floor of the property where staff were sleeping. The damning findings were deemed to be so dangerous and pressing that a ‘Prohibition Notice’ was served on the spot for the premises, which was then immediately prohibited from its use as sleeping quarters. West Sussex Fire and Rescue praised the findings of the court and said the that siutation that they found had “put lives at risk” and was “quite simply not acceptable”. Richard Bradley, who is the business fire safety manager for the Force, said he could see how the problems had occured. He said: “This property was being refurbished and the building work had overrun. “The company made the decision to open, even though the fire alarm was not working and there were a number of serious fire safety issues to be considered. “This is putting people’s lives at risk for the sake of profit and that simply is not acceptable. “This prosecution demonstrates how seriously we take our responsibility to protect the public. “I’m very pleased that Wildwood has since put all the required measures in place.”

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