Electricity tampering put hotel guests’ lives at risk

Adrian Hutton
Adrian Hutton

A Blackpool hotelier ‘recklessly’ put lives at risk by allowing persistent tampering with electricity after his supply was cut off.

Even after energy chiefs dug up the road to disconnect Lolly’s Hotel on Regent Road from the electricity supply, a cable to tap into electricity from a neighbouring premises was set up, a hearing was told.

Lollys Hotel on Regent Road

Lollys Hotel on Regent Road

At one point, clingfilm was used to twist wires together to bypass a meter.

A council licensing hearing was told the actions put the lives of hotel guests and residents of neighbouring properties at risk if a fire had broken out.

Owner Kamran Iqbal had his licence to sell alcohol revoked, and was warned a criminal prosecution is pending.

Prohibition notices have already been issued against the hotel which is now closed.

The electricity meter at Lolly's

The electricity meter at Lolly's

The licensing review panel at Blackpool Town Hall was told Corona Energy had disconnected the electricity at Lolly’s Hotel in February for non-payment, but when licensing officers visited in June they discovered the supply had been reconnected using a rogue meter not registered on the network.

This was removed, but just weeks later in August it was discovered the electricity had been reconnected again.

This time “wires had been twisted together with cling film”.

Public Protection Office Jacqui Harrison said: “They had used normal cling film that you wrap your sandwiches in to connect the wires.

“Due to the dangerous nature of the installation, which had been reconnected on two separate occasions, Electricity North West took the decision to dig the pavement up outside the premises and disconnected the supply in the street.”

A prohibition notice was issued ordering the hotel to close. But two weeks later a licensing officer drove past the hotel and noticed the lights were back on and guests were inside the hotel.

Ms Harrison said: “This time it appeared they had tapped into next door’s electric.”

A cable was found running through the floorboards from the neighbouring property at 26 Regent Road.

Mark Marshall, licensing manager at Blackpool Council, said: “Those running the hotel were intentionally reckless and these actions have put the public at risk of serious harm and neighbours at risk from a potential fire.”

Mr Iqbal told the hearing he had been away for much of the year studying for a law degree in Leeds and had left the running of the hotel in the hands of a manager.

He said: “I have been away from the hotel and things went wrong.

“I am sorry for the electricity being in this state, but with regard to the tapping I was not aware of what was going on.”

Revoking the licence, licensing panel chairman Coun Adrian Hutton said: “The fact you put all your residents at risk by allowing this type of activity to take place is beyond our comprehension.

“We believe Mr Marshall is right in taking a prosecution out for reckless endangerment of people’s lives.”

Mr Iqbal has 21 days in which to lodge an appeal.