A newsagents in Southampton has been fined more than £20,000 after admitting breaching fire safety law.

Officers from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service discovered five breaches of fire safety at the McColl’s store in Montague Avenue, Sholing when they attended a small fire there.

After an inspection was made they found that store owners Martin McColl’s Ltd had failed to remove a padlock on the rear fire exit door, failed to review the fire risk assessment, and had not trained the manager of the shop to an adequate level.

They also found that management had failed to review the fire risk assessment and to maintain fire safety equipment.

Martin McColl’s Ltd had owned the property for ten months before the fire was reported but had failed to implement any changes since taking over it.

Speaking after the case, assistant chief officer Neil Odin, head of community safety for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We work closely with businesses to help them with their duty to comply with fire safety law, ensuring the safety of our community and making Hampshire safer, but where their responsibilities are not taken seriously, the service will always consider prosecution.

“We would like this case to act as a timely reminder to business owners and landlords throughout Hampshire that the Fire Safety Order is in place. “The safety of the public is our primary concern. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service will continue to utilise all the powers available to us in enforcing fire safety legislation.”

Martin McColl’s Ltd was fined £3,500 for each of the five offences, plus the fire service’s legal costs of £3,817.51 and a £15 victim surcharge – a total of £21,322.51. A spokesman from the firm said that they were now fully compliant with fire safety but would not be providing further comment.