A RESTAURANT owner has been fined more than £25,000 after he risked the lives of his customers and those living in the flats above it.

The owner of Junness Indian Cuisine, Askar Miah, was ordered to pay £15,000 and £10,300 after he pleaded guilty to five charges relating to inadequate fire safety standards.

Fire officers visited the property on High Street, Southampton, found an inadequate fire alarm system, the fire exit was not well protected and there was inadequate emergency lighting.

Following the visit in August 2012 a prohibition notice was served, stopping people from living in the seven-bedroom flat above the premises.

Two years ago Miah was fined more than £40,000 after pleading guilty to four breaches of house of multiple occupation (HMO) management regulations and a failure to obtain a HMO mandatory property licence at Southampton Magistrates’ Court After evidence was found a number of times of people still living there and the problems with the premesis weren't fixed, Hampshire Fire and Resuce Service authorities brought legal action against him.

Speaking after the case, area manager Steve Foye, head of community safety for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The work carried out by our fire safety officers is vital to the safeguarding of life and property in our communities.

“We try and work very closely with businesses to advise and help them with their duties under, but unfortunately in this case we needed to go down the legal route.

“We hope that this case will act as a reminder to business owners and landlords throughout Hampshire that whilst we work with businesses as closely as we can, the safety of the public is our primary concern and we in some cases we do have to consider prosecution.”