A NIGHTCLUB owner has been ordered to pay over £8,000 after failing to respond to information requests by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

District Judge Stephen Harmes found nightclub owner Nathan Jones guilty of two charges of ignoring fire service requests to complete safety investigations at the Vanilla Bar in Blackwood, under the Fire Safety Order, and called any offer of help ‘a sham’.

The requests for fire safety investigations were made after the fire service, along with Gwent Police, Caerphilly County Council and the Security Industry Authority (SIA) attended the High Street bar in July last year.

The solicitor acting for Mr Jones and his company, 19 Steps Ltd, suggested that the fire service should attend the premises themselves and seek the information, which was rejected on the grounds that the premises had a court closure order on it, and that it was unreasonable to expect fire officers to locate material which could easily be identified by the company.

Judge Harmes said: “There is a public interest of a high level to assist Fire Service Regulations. Mr Jones’ offer through his solicitor is not sufficient.

“In my opinion it is not the fire service’s job to sift through countless files and paperwork and your offer to provide the information is a sham facilitation.”

Mr Jones, of Springfield Villa in Pontypool, was found guilty at Cwmbran Magistrates' Court on June 13 of not co-operating adequately with the fire service, under Article 27 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and fined £600, along with full costs, to the Fire and Rescue Authority, of £7,423.09.

Head of business fire safety for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Steve Rossiter, said: “Our role is to ensure businesses in South Wales are safe. We work with business to support them to reduce risk to their business, employees, customers and premises. In this instance we went out of our way to seek basic information to enable us to follow legal protocols.

“This prosecution sends a clear message to members of the business community; that they need to respond to formal requests for information from the Fire and Rescue Service.”

For more information about the Fire Safety Order and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s Business Safety department, visit www.southwales-fire.gov.uk