The owner of the former Tokyo nightclub in Lincoln has been found guilty of putting lives of staff and customers at risk and fined £143,952.30.
Aaron Mellor, 44, of Deans Gate in Manchester, was on October 5, at York Crown Court, found guilty of fifteen charges of failing to comply with fire safety requirements at his Tokyo nightclubs in Lincoln and York.
As previously reported, the Tokyo nightclub in Lincoln was inspected in April 2014, where fire safety officers from Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue closed the basement area after serious concerns were raised about access to emergency exits, lack of emergency lighting and inadequate signage.
On the inspection, Paul Mead of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Fire exits were blocked by chairs, tables and bags of rubbish and the emergency exit signs pointed in the wrong direction.
“One of the fire escape doors at the club had to be kicked and subsequently broken by a member of staff in order to open it.
“If a fire had occurred some people would not have reasonably been able to escape due to the fire exits not being available.”
As well as visits to the nightclub in Lincoln, Fire Safety officers from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue visited Tokyo in York on numerous occasions.
They found the emergency lighting system, fire alarm and fire detection system not to be working.
The property’s fire risk assessment was also not adequate and there was sleeping accommodation found on the premises.
For the Lincoln charges, Mellor was fined £66,000 and ordered to pay £44,504 in prosecution costs.
For the York charges, Mellor was fined £10,000 and Tokyo Industries (One) Limited was fined £30,000. Charges were £23,448.30.
Paul Mead added: “This is the first time in the country that two Fire and Rescue services have acted together to successfully bring a prosecution against a company and business operator, when offences have taken place in different counties.
“It sends a clear message out to owners of this type of venue that when they put company profit before public safety, we will take action.
“We continue to work with other agencies in an attempt to improve safety standards.
“Many of the business premises that we visit are conscientious about fire safety matters. However, some of the buildings which are brought to our attention because of fire incidents or complaints, turn out to have serious fire safety concerns which endanger those working in or visiting it.
“We would encourage all business owners and those with responsibility for any premises, where the fire safety order applies, to ensure that they are aware of the legislative obligations they need to comply with, including having an up-to-date fire risk assessment.”