A COMPANY responsible for running an Abingdon kebab house will go to the Court of Appeal next week to fight a £120,000 fine imposed for fire safety breaches.

DUB Catering Ltd was given the huge fine for flouting the rules at Sami’s Barbeque and Pizza Takeaway in Ock Street. The takeaway’s director, Mustafa Dumanli, walked from court with a six-month suspended prison sentence.

Last summer, the court heard that the business agreed in 2011 to install a number of fire safety measures as part of a renovation of the three-storey premises. They included sprinklers in the kitchen, safety lights and fire doors.

READ MORE: Abingdon takeaway must pay £120k for fire safety breaches

An inspection in 2019, found that the sprinkler heads in the kitchen had been removed and holes filled in with plaster around 10 days before the visit. First floor rooms were used to store flammable materials like cooking oil. And the doors protecting staff members’ main escape route – the central stairway – were normal wooden doors rather than heavy fire doors capable of stopping flames for 30 minutes.

The Court of Appeal confirmed that DUB Catering Ltd now sought to appeal its sentence imposed at Oxford Crown Court last August.

The company has been given permission by the single judge to take his case before the full panel of three appeal justices.

The firm’s appeal is due to be heard next Tuesday, on June 21.

Mustafa Dumanli, one of the directors of the business, told the Oxford Mail yesterday of the appeal: “This is a huge amount of money. It is going to be difficult to pay this much money for us. We are only a small business.”

Sentencing the company and director Dumanli last summer, Judge Michael Gledhill QC said: “Over the years the defendant Mustafa Dumanli in charge of fire safety undertook annual fire risk assessments. What he did was simply not enough and was inadequate but it has to be said that there were no difficulties between 2011 and 2019.

“It is significant that when one looks at the hygiene condition of the kitchen and the way the business was run it was high quality; top quality, in fact.

“Regrettably, the fire safety aspect was totally disregarded, no doubt the directors believing that as they had had approval in 2011 all was well.

“But things were not well, because from time to time it appears that the sprinkler system malfunctioned causing havoc to the kitchen and its contents including destroying food.

“So, the decision was taken in November 2019 to remove the sprinkler system. I accept that the defendant and his brother and the company had not thought through the consequences of that decision. Had they given it the slightest thought they would have realised that the risk of fire was considerably enhanced by removing the sprinkler system.

“But they didn’t think and so not only was it removed but the holes in the ceiling through which the sprinkler was inserted were filled in and painted.”

He added: “The consequences could have been appalling.”

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.  

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward