Hotel owner admits 'shocking' breaches of fire safety laws

Wednesday 16 January 2013 Updated: 16/01 10:42

THE lives of staff and guests at the Hylands Hotel in Cheylesmore would have been put at risk in the event of a fire because of a series of serious breaches of safety regulations.

Karim Moloo's company Cumberland Court Ltd, which owns the hotel in Warwick Road, repeatedly broke the law in spite of warnings and notices issued by fire safety officers, Warwick Crown Court heard.

Investigations had originally started following a complaint from a guest who was concerned about poor standards of fire safety.

The use of the second floor for sleeping accommodation was subsequently banned by West Midlands Fire Service because of inadequate automatic fire detection equipment.

During further inspection, the fire alarm system was found not to be working on all levels of the building and fire exits were found to be poorly maintained, blocked and even locked.

In total Mr Moloo, 37, of MIddlesex, and Cumberland Court Ltd admitted 11 charges.

Also in the dock was Moloo’s partner Saleha Malik, 39, who was the company secretary. She denied all 16 charges she had faced and was formally found not guilty after prosecutor Mark Jackson said he would offer no evidence against her.

Mr Jackson told the court Moloo was a company director but was also there on the ground at the hotel at the time.

But he pointed out the hotel was let to another company which had been running it and had been served with an enforcement notice. However no proceedings had been taken against the owner of that company because he had absconded to Pakistan.

Moloo and his company had only just taken back the running of the hotel following a dispute over non-payment of rent.

The hotel now has new operators and complies fully with fire safety legislation.

Moloo was bailed and will be sentenced on February 19.

Denis Murphy, of West Midlands Fire Service, said: "These were shocking breaches of fire safety laws.

"I have no doubt that, had there been a fire, the hotel’s staff and guests were at serous risk of being killed or seriously hurt.

"Hotels can be large, complex buildings. People working and staying in them rightly expect that their safety will be a top priority, that the fire alarms will work and that their escape routes will be clear.

"We will not tolerate people’s lives being put at risk, and have a number of other court cases coming up."

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