Buisnessman and company owner jailed for “Flagrant” breaches of fire safety laws

A Businessman and owner of a 14th century Cheshire wedding venue has been jailed for 20 months at Chester Crown Court for violating serious fire safety rules.

Mohammed Isaq, 56 of Davenport Hall, Hale Barns, pleaded guilty to nine charges which relate to failure to comply with the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005, failure to comply with enforcement notice and failure to comply with a prohibition notice at Haslington Hall wedding venue in Crewe.

His company, Haslingon Hall Ltd, where Isaq was the major shareholder, also admitted the same breaches.

The charges relate to his failure to take general fire precautions to ensure the safety of employees and the public, placing them at risk of death and serious injury in case of fire, failure to review fire risk assessments following a decision to use the second floor of the main hall as sleeping accommodation, inadequate fire detectors, alarms, firefighting equipment, escape routes, signage for emergency routes and exits, and a lack of fire safety training for staff.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service visited the Grade One listed building in 2012 and issued enforcement notices in an attempt to get the venue up to standard, but the work undertaken to rectify the issues were inadequate.

In 2014 the service visited  “The Big Marquee” within the grounds of Haslington Hall and found serious breaches in fire safety.

The service issued a prohibition notice – which means companies should stop using the venue with immediate effect – this was then ignored by Isaq on at least three occasions when the service visited and weddings were taking place.

The court heard the Isaq had a previous conviction for fire safety breaches when in January 2012 he was fined and ordered to pay court cost totalling £23,815 to Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service for nine serious breaches of Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, also at Haslington Hall.

The honorary recorder of Chester, Judge Roger Dutton, told Isaq that the breaches were “flagrant” and put the public at risk.

He said, “These are very serious breaches. After all, should a disaster happen it is the fire service who have to put the lives of their employees at risk to save the lives of the public.

“A more flagrant breach of the legislation cannot be in my view. You simply ignored many of the important aspects of the enforcement notices and completely ignored two prohibition notices”.

Head of protection and organisational performance at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Lee Shears said, “There should never be lives put at risk in any premises and legislation is there to protect anyone using a venue such as this.”

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