15 Aug 2012
An off-licence owner in Greater Manchester has been fined £22,000 and ordered to pay costs for breaching nine fire safety regulations.
Tahair Mahmood Arif was convicted under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005) at Manchester Crown Court, receiving the largest ever fine under the order in the Greater Manchester conurbation.
Inspectors visited the shop on Liverpool Street, Salford in April last year and discovered that the main fire escape route was blocked by rubbish mounting six feet high.
The off-licence was also found to have no fire alarms on site, while a wooden stairway from the ground floor to the first floor was littered with highly combustible items.
The authorities found several first floor windows were bolted shut with metal shutters to prevent escape, which landed Mr Arif with a Prohibition Notice forbidding anyone from using the first or second floors.
But, when inspectors returned to the scene at a later date, they found Mr Arif to have ignored all previous warnings and noticed the first and second floors were still being used.
The shopkeeper was fined a total of £22,000 and ordered to pay £4,195 in costs, as well as a £15 victim surcharge.
Copyright Press Association 2012