The company and director operating a petrol station garage in Lanner, Cornwall, have been ordered to pay a total of £108,028 in fines and costs after their premises failed to meet fire safety regulations.

The company operating Lanner Garage, ST Forecourt Ltd, was fined £100,000 (reduced from £150,000 to account for their early guilty plea) after pleading guilty to five offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The director of the company, Satheeswaran Sachchithananthamoorthy, from Bristol, was also ordered to pay £3,800 (reduced from £5,700 for their early guilty plea) and £4,038 in costs and a victim surcharge of £190 when they appeared before Exeter Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, February 8.

The offences related to breaches of the fire safety standards identified by officers of Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) following a fire safety inspection in October 2022.

The inspection by the officers revealed, that people had been sleeping illegally on the first floor of the garage without suitable fire precautions in place.

These included:

  • not having suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment;
  • the fire detection and warning system fell short of the standard expected in a premises providing sleeping accommodation;
  • the escape routes serving the sleeping accommodation were not adequately protected;
  • the fire exit serving the sleeping accommodation was obstructed;
  • the emergency lighting fell short of the standard expected in premises providing sleeping accommodation.

The subsequent investigation by CFRS revealed that the company had failed to review the fire safety provisions at the premises and it was served a restriction notice.

Councillor Martyn Alvey, the portfolio holder responsible for CFRS at Cornwall Council, said: “I’d like to thank the team who have worked hard to bring this prosecution. When people put others’ lives at risk, we will not hesitate to take action and prosecute where necessary.”

Antony Bartlett, assistant chief fire officer at Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I urge all businesses to ensure they comply with fire regulations. These measures are in place to protect people and can ultimately save lives.”