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Owner of 16th century venue jailed for 'serious fire safety breaches'
An owner of a wedding venue has been imprisoned for 20 months because of his failure to take general fire precautions to ensure the safety of employees and the public.
Mr Mohammed Isaq failed to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at the 16th century, Grade One listed Haslington Hall, Cheshire.
In addition, he was found guilty of failing to comply with enforcement and prohibition notices.
Mr Isaq, and the company of which he was the majority shareholder, were accused of placing the venue's staff and visitors 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 employees.
Following an inspection by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, an enforcement notice was made to get the venue to an acceptable level of fire safety standards. Some work was carried out subsequently but it was not sufficient.
Later firefighters checked a venue in the grounds of the Hall and issued a prohibition notice but Mr Isaq ignored it and continued to hold events.
The court heard that the defendant had previously been found guilty of fire safety offences at the same location in 2012 when he had been ordered to pay fines and costs of almost £24,000.
He also has convictions for food hygiene and health and safety breaches.
In sentencing Mr Isaq to prison, Judge Roger Dutton said, "A more flagrant breach of the legislation there cannot be in my view. You simply ignored many of the important aspects of the enforcement notices and completely ignored two prohibition notices, there to ensure the public is not placed at risk."
Haslington Hall was damaged in a fire earlier this year. It is no longer used as a public venue.