A HYDE café owner has been handed a suspended jail term after placing a petrol generator in its basement – leaving three people in hospital.
And Paul Ormiston was told he was lucky his actions did not kill anyone.
Tameside Magistrates Court was told that on March 24, 2021, a serious incident occurred involving the release of carbon monoxide at Bake N Butty, on Clarendon Place.
Emergency services attended resulting in three affected residents in the immediate vicinity of the premises being admitted to hospital.
Upon entering, a petrol generator was found in the basement which appeared to be providing electricity to the premises.
Following an investigation carried out by Tameside Council’s environmental services team, Mr Ormiston admitted to installing a petrol generator in the basement of the premises on the aforementioned date to provide power to two freezers as his electricity supply had been disconnected by the supplier the day before because of non-payment of bills.
Environmental Health Officers served a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice to prevent the café from operating because of the lack of electricity and a Health and Safety Prohibition Notice preventing the use of a generator inside the building.
Mr Ormiston pleaded guilty on December 21 to failing to exercise his duty as an employer, to ensure that persons not in his employment are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.
And when he appeared for sentencing on May 22, Magistrates concluded that it was lucky nobody lost their lives and that the offence was so serious only a custodial sentence would suffice
He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, reduced from 26 weeks to give credit for his early guilty plea, which was suspended for 12 months.
In addition, he was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, 20 rehabilitation activity days, £120 victim surcharge and £5,000 towards the council’s prosecution costs.
Tameside Council’s assistant executive member responsible for enforcement, Cllr Vincent Ricci, said:
“Tameside Council treats health and safety very seriously and will take action to protect the public when a breach occurs and where employers fail to meet the standards required to ensure the health and safety of both employees and members of the public.
“Petrol generators should not be used inside buildings, they must only be used in a well-ventilated area because they are known to emit carbon monoxide.
“The court recognised the seriousness of this breach and imposed a custodial sentence alongside community orders and costs.”