Couple arrested for running restaurant that failed fire safety regulations
Bengal Spice restaurant on Corporation Street was described as a “death trap” to court after a slew of fire safety breaches were discovered.
The fire alarm system was damaged, the fire extinguisher had not been tested for six years and the fire doors were locked shut. The second floor, which was used for accommodation, had no smoke detectors, fire alarms or electricity to boot.
Owners Mohammed Uddin and Monowara Begum, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court in Leamington to 12 charges of breaching fire regulations. Manager Uddin, 48, and Begum, 38, both from Stoney, Foleshill, also admitted two more serious charges of failing to comply with a prohibition notice. This notice restricted the use of the first, second and third floors.
Uddin, who held majority of the responsibility for the offences, was sentenced to eight months in prison which the judge suspended because of his poor health.
He was however also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid works and pay the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service’s prosecution costs of £12,235.50 within six months.
Begum, who jointly owned the restaurant with her husband, was jailed for three months and suspended for two years.
Judge Alan Parker told the couple, “These premises were a fire trap and, in the words of the prosecution, a death trap.
“You showed a complete disregard for the enforcement notice, an arrogant and callous disregard.
“You Mr Uddin were entirely willing to place people at risk of death merely so you could enrich yourself.”
Defence Tariq Shakoor however said that Bengal Spice had been trading at a loss, and one of the couple’s children had taken over management whilst Uddin is now employed as a chef.
“The blame in all of this seems to be shifted largely towards Mr Uddin, and it does seem to be a very sorry state of affairs which paints a potentially dangerous picture.
“But Mr Uddin had serious health problems in the year building up to this and had suffered heart attacks in 2010 and 2011,” said Mr Shakoor, who added that Begum was not as guilty as Uddin.
The couple however were accused of putting profit ahead of safety.