Massive fines for hotel owners who breached fire safety regs

Owners of a hotel in Leamington Spa have been ordered to pay £350,000 plus costs after a judge at Warwick Crown Court found them guilty of multiple breaches of the Fire Safety Order.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service inspectors visited the Falstaff Hotel on multiple occasions between 2017 and 2019, finding smoke alarms covered in plastic bags, fire escapes blocked with laundry, locked fire exits and faulty alarms.

The owners of Talash Ltd and parent firm Talash Hotels Ltd admitted 38 breaches of fire safety laws at Warwick Crown Court last month.

Summarising the case, Judge Anthony Potter said:

“Over a 15-month period they failed to maintain safety items, and that placed both guests and their staff at a risk of serious injury or even death.

“On 15 occasions the hotel was visited by fire inspectors there was a fault of one sort or another to the fire alarm system.

“That led to a number of enforcement notices which were still not complied with, in one case for nine months.

“It led to the service of a notice prohibiting the occupation of some 12 rooms.”

The hotel owners had a previous conviction for breaches in health and safety legislation at a different hotel in the county. They were fined £50,000 in 2012.

Welcoming the outcomes of this case, Warwickshire Fire Service's Fire Protection Group Manager, Roly Bayley said it sent a strong message to other hotel owners that fire safety must be taken seriously and that action will be taken against those who flout the law. He added:

“Our inspectors found serious and systemic fire safety failures which, had a fire occurred in the hotel, were highly likely to have led to widespread loss of life, serious injuries and the potential far reaching damage to the wider community and reputation of Warwickshire as a safe place to visit and stay.

“In this situation, Talash Hotels Ltd failed to meet their duties in taking all the necessary precautions to meet the fire safety standards required by law. Their case serves as a reminder to all business owners about how extremely important fire safety responsibility is in their role.”

“We would like to make it clear that since our investigation the Falstaff Hotel is no longer part of the Talash Hotel Group. It’s now under new ownership and the hotel has undergone extensive improvements throughout, including a new fire detection system.”