Kebab shop fined £21,000 over lack of emergency lighting

A modest takeaway restaurant with a big red illuminated sign reading 'Marmaris Kebabs'
During a routine inspection, fire safety officers from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service discovered an absence of emergency lighting at Marmaris Kebabs in Caroline Street, Cardiff.

THE OWNERS of a Cardiff takeaway ordered to pay over £21,000 and handed suspended prison sentences following fire safety offences which included an absence of emergency lighting.

The owners of Marmaris Kebabs on Caroline Street appeared in Cardiff Crown Court following multiple breaches of the Fire Safety Order.

During a routine inspection, fire safety officers from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service discovered a number of serious fire safety breaches.

There were inadequate escape routes with no emergency lighting as well as no fire risk assessments, no fire alarms, blocked stairs cases and a missing door to a store room holding combustible items.

Fire officers believed that there was an imminent risk to life, so severe that a Prohibition Notice was served on the 9 April 2019 immediately preventing the use of the upper floors of the premises for residential purposes. 

An Enforcement Notice was also served detailing the failings that needed to be rectified within 180 days to ensure the building was safe from the risk of fire.

On the 4 June 2019, inspecting officers made an unannounced visit to the premises and discovered that it was still being used for residential purposes, in breach of the terms of the Prohibition Notice.  

Following the expiry of the Enforcement Notice on the 9 October 2019 officers revisited the premises to discover no remedial work had been carried out and the Prohibition Notice continued to be breached with the upper floors being used for residential purposes.

The two owners of Marmaris Kebabs pleaded guilty to six charges under offences made against the Fire Safety Order. 

The defendants were committed to Cardiff Crown Court for sentencing as the District Judge considered the sentencing powers of the Magistrates’ Court to be insufficient given the seriousness of the contraventions.

Acting Resident Judge HHJ Tracey Lloyd-Clarke acknowledged that the breaches of fire regulations posed a serious risk to life stating: ‘The law has been flagrantly disregarded…serious breaches of regulations that are designed to protect people on the premises…from the risk of fire.’

The two owners from Newport were fined £12,000 and also ordered to pay full costs to South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority of over £9,000 to be paid within 12 months. 

One defendant was also handed a 12 month prison sentence suspended for two years, 180 hours of unpaid work and issued a curfew between 7pm and 6am every night for the next four months to be monitored electronically.

Owen Jayne, head of business fire safety at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, welcomed the sentence and told Lux: ‘I would urge those responsible for such premises, if they haven’t already done so, to undertake a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment to determine whether they are compliant with the Fire Safety Order. 

‘The service is keen to work with members of the business community to ensure work places are safe for their staff and member of the public.  

‘We have a dedicated business engagement team whose purpose is to assist businesses and I urge them to contact SWFRS’ Fire Safety Department for advice and information.’

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service is committed to making South Wales a safer place to live, visit and work  and part of its role is to enforce the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and ensure all business premises and public places comply.  

The order applies to all non-domestic premises in England and Wales and a responsible person must carry out a fire safety risk assessment, as well as implement and maintain a fire management plan.