The owners of a bed and breakfast were prosecuted yesterday for blocking fire inspectors trying to ensure their property was safe.

Mr Richard Williams-Allen, 70, and Mrs Lesley Williams-Allen, 64, of The Laurels, Inchbrook, Nailsworth, appeared at Cheltenham Magistrates Court yesterday. They pleaded guilty to obstructing fire safety inspectors from Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and failing to provide information relating to the premises.  

In April 2010, Mr and Mrs Williams-Allen refused a fire safety inspector access into their premises, The Laurels bed and breakfast, to carry out an inspection. Over a six-month period, the Fire Service made reasonable and repeated attempts to arrange a visit but on each occasion, the owners refused to cooperate. 

Mr Williams-Allen was fined £350 and ordered to pay costs of £1,650. Mrs Williams-Allen was fined £250 and ordered to pay further costs of £1,650. Both defendants are also required to each pay a £15 victim surcharge.

There is a continuing request to inspect The Laurels and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service will now arrange this.

Tally Giampa, head of fire safety enforcement and risk at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service said: "It is very unusual for us to be forced into this course of action as the vast majority of owners of commercial premises understand how important it is that their properties are inspected to ensure they comply with fire safety laws. 

"Our priority is always to ensure that people are kept as safe as possible and our fire safety inspections focus on premises where there is the greatest risk of fire. These include bed and breakfasts and hotels, where guests are likely to be unfamiliar with the layout of the building and range in age and mobility. Our inspectors' advice and guidance save lives and it's vital they are allowed to do their job."

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, Gloucestershire County Council Cabinet member for Community Safety and Youth, said: "Fire safety laws are there to ensure that people and premises are safe and it's very rare for our inspectors to be blocked in this way. 

"We always do our utmost to ensure co-operation but if we feel people are potentially being put at risk, we will take action." 


Posted: 10.23am, 20.05.11