Guests ‘put at risk’ in hotel’s electricity con

Lolly's Hotel, Regent Road, Blackpool
Lolly's Hotel, Regent Road, Blackpool
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A hotel where the electricity supply had repeatedly been illegally reconnected posed a fire death risk, a court was told.

The electric at Lolly’s Hotel in Regent Road was dangerously and illegally reconnected five times in nine months after the bill had not been paid.

On some occasions it had been connected to the main electric cable in the street and also to a neighbouring property in the terraced block.

Safety inspectors found the hotel meter had been by-passed in a dangerous manner. Some wires were melting, connections showed scorching and some cables were directly connected to the circuit using cling film, which could catch fire.

Hotel owner, Kamran Iqbal, 27, of Leeds Road, Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to six health and safety at work offences.

He was sentenced to 26 weeks jail suspended for 18 months, ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work for the community and told to pay £500 costs with £115’victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Presiding magistrate, 
Sylvia Kirby, told him: “Your culpability is high. You continued to trade and you put the public in danger.”

Lynda Bennett, prosecuting for Blackpool Council, said: “The illegal reconnections of the electricity at the hotel posed a fire risk which could have resulted in death. They exposed a number of guests, visitors and people in other properties to significant danger.

“The council would say it was a reckless cost-cutting act. Between August 20 2016 until the final disconnection on October 28 2016 there had been approximately 175 guests staying overnight at the hotel, some with children.”

On February 18 2016 the electricity to the hotel was first disconnected by the supplier because the bill was not paid.

From then on, on five occasions, safety inspectors found the electricity supply had been illegally connected.

On August 9 a prohibition notice was issued requiring the electric to be fully tested by a suitable electrician and shown to be satisfactory before being used, if the supply was reinstated.

After this officials found wires running across the hotel’s cellar ceiling which ran into the next door property of 28 Regent Road. A cable from the hotel was also found connected directly into the main supply of the street cable.

Michael Woosnam, defending, said Iqbal had worked in a hotel but had no experience of full-time management and he had arranged for a man to run the hotel for him. He did not know about the change of the electric supplier.

Mr Woosnam added: “He did not stir himself to address what was going on.

“The manager then said he was going away. Iqbal said he did not do the reconnections himself.”

Iqbal had closed the hotel in October 2016 and it had not reopened.