The former owners of the Victoria Arcade in Great Yarmouth have been fined for a string of fire safety breaches including a lack of extinguishers and an obstructed escape route. 

Today Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court found that HIS Investments Ltd - who sold the shopping mall this year -  had failed to comply with Article 27 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The case, which was brought by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), was proved in the company's absence with the court finding high culpability and high potential harm.

This means the company failed to provide NFRS with the details of the person responsible for carrying out remedial work required at Victoria Arcade following a fire safety audit.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court - where HIS Investments have been fined for fire safety breaches at Victoria Arcade.Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court - where HIS Investments have been fined for fire safety breaches at Victoria Arcade. (Image: Newsquest)

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The fire safety audit had found 14 contraventions which NFRS required to be addressed.

These included wiring which appeared to be unsafe and required testing, lack of a fire risk assessment for the premises, lack of a compliant fire alarm and lack of fire extinguishers.

Other breaches included inadequate emergency lighting, an obstructed escape route, lack of procedures for evacuation and no co-operation or co-ordination arrangements between landlords and tenants.

It meant NFRS could not certify that the contraventions to fire safety requirements had been completed to ensure the safety of tenants and members of the public.

The company was fined £1,500, with a £600 victim surcharge and £1,333 full costs awarded.

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NFRS had also issued a Prohibition Notice to prevent people from occupying some areas of the premises as sleeping accommodation, which would have put them at serious risk from a fire.

After the case, NFRS Group Manager for Protection Robert Curtis said: “We have an excellent working relationship with hundreds of businesses across Norfolk.

“We are committed to supporting businesses to comply with legislation, but we will take action, through the courts if necessary, where there is a failure to reasonably work with us.

“Our responsibility is to protect the public and ensure people are not put at risk.”