The owner of a now closed Chinese restaurant in Preston has been fined for health and safety breaches.Advertisement
Wen Qaing Cai, who owned the former China House restaurant in Aqueduct Street, was sentenced at Preston Magistrates’ Court to four offences.
Cai, 35, of Preston Road, Chorley, pleaded guilty to failing to protect the health and aafety of his employees, and others, failure to comply with a requirement for access to the cellar of his restaurant, and to ensure that gas work was carried out by an approved person.
Health and safety inspectors found in 2013 a cooking range had been leaking gas.
Further inspections found a hot water heater in the staff living quarters had its front removed, leading to the production of carbon monoxide.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services area fire safety manager Brad Walker said if a fire had broken out at the premises they would have needed to evacuate hundreds of nearby homes and businesses, and even required the close of the West Coast mainline.
Cai was given four concurrent terms of six months in prison which were suspended for 12 months.
Magistrates also ordered him to complete 200 hours of unpaid work, pay a £2,000 fine, £80 victim surcharge and £2,699.87 in costs.
Cabinet member for planning and regulations, Councillor John Swindells, said: “Health and safety is an area which is taken seriously in Preston. Most companies in Preston are run to a very high standard. However, we will not hesitate to take legal action against those that act illegally.”
Senior environmental health officer at Preston City Council, Jonathan Cruickshank, said: “Due to timely interventions with our partner organisations, fortunately no-one was injured. If the illegal gas works had not been found it is likely that the consequences could have been a fire or explosion that could have seriously injured or killed staff and members of the public.
“Anyone working on gas installations and appliances must be a member of the Gas Safe Register and prove they are competent to work on the gas appliances concerned. All gas engineers can be checked on Gas Safe Register website.
“It is vital that gas-fired catering equipment is properly checked and maintained as gas leaks can go undetected in commercial kitchens due to food odours and the use of the extractor fan whilst cooking.”