The owner of a Brighton kebab shop has been landed with a £3,600 bill for allowing people to sleep above the shop in beach of a prohibition notice.
Nafiz Karaca, of North Street, Eastbourne, admitted the offence when he was brought before Eastbourne magistrates.
His fellow leaseholder, Mustafa Duran, 50, of Elm Lodge, Canterbury Drive, Brighton, has denied two charges and is due back in court on Wednesday 30 March.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said that it was “reminding owners of takeaway restaurants with sleeping accommodation above of their legal responsibilities” following the court case.
Karaca, was one of two leaseholders running the Golden Grill, in Pool Valley, Brighton.
The notice that he pleaded guilty to breaching ordered that the premises should not be used for sleeping until better fire safety precautions were put in place.
Karaca was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay the full £2,454.10 court costs of the case and a court surcharge of £150.
The court was told that inspecting officers visited the premises in February 2012 after a complaint was received and as a result they issued the prohibition notice.
Karaca took over the premises in June 2012 and it opened as the Golden Grill in July 2012.
In October 2013 inspecting officers visited the premises to check that the prohibition notice was being complied with.
They found a number of people sleeping there in direct contravention of the notice.
Karaca was issued with an “informal caution” stating that the fire service did not intend to prosecute on that occasion.
The “caution” said that if there were further breaches of fire safety legislation in the future, the fire service would seriously consider bringing the matter to court.
The premises were visited again in November 2014 and again people were found to be sleeping there.
While the breach was being investigated, the fire service said that a third breach of the prohibition notice was found.
The sentencing magistrate said: “We are very concerned, as most people are, that fire prevention is a key part of people’s safety.
“In determining the level of the fine, the magistrates took account of Mr Karaca’s early guilty plea, co-operation and the prohibition notice having since been lifted and reduced the fine from £1,500 to £1,000.”
The fire service’s head of business safety Richard Fowler said: “The fire service considers this matter as being among the most serious that it encounters.
“Dangerous conditions had been identified and Mr Karaca was instructed not to allow sleeping above the shop yet staff were discovered sleeping there on several occasions.
“The fine handed down by the court today reflects the serious nature of the offence.
“Owners of any premises where the fire service has served a formal legal notice are reminded of the importance of complying with the notice and of the potential consequences of not doing so.”
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