Local Apprentice star fined after customer given ‘serious burns’ by tea-light

James Hill.
James Hill.
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A man from Derbyshire who appeared on the latest series of The Apprentice has been ordered to pay more than £6,000 after pleading guilty to health and safety offences.

James Hill, who featured on the BBC One reality tv business show, was brought to book by Chesterfield Borough Council.

Both James and his father Jason Hill admitted offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, including that they had failed to ensure the safety of staff and customers at Havana Whites, a bar on Corporation Street, Chesterfield.

The prosecution came after a customer of the bar received serious burns when his shirt caught fire on a tea-light left on the bar in January 2014.

The bar is owned by Linacre Estates, of which Jason Hill was a director.

Councillor Chris Ludlow, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We welcome the level of fines given to James Hill and I hope this gives a clear message that we will prosecute people who flout health and safety laws and put other people at risk.

“The failures in this case to put in place measures to protect the health and safety of staff working at Havana Whites and of its customers are shocking especially after they were told not to leave naked flames out in the bar area following a previous visit by the council’s health and safety officer.”

James Hill received fines of £1,000 after failing to take care for the health and safety of himself and of other people on the premises, both staff and customers and for refusing to respond to questions put to him by the council’s investigating officer. He was also ordered to pay £5,126.82 in costs and a £50 victim surcharge.

Sentencing for Jason Hill has been adjourned until Monday 3 August.

Phil Mitchell, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service group manager, said: ‘Had the fire occurred when the premises were busier or involved a customer wearing more combustible clothing such as a light dress the consequences may have been far worse.

“The fire exit from the rear yard was insufficient, the escape lighting and fire alarm were not being maintained, the premises fire risk assessment had not been reviewed and was inadequate and some staff were not suitably trained in fire safety.

“Licensees, managers and pub or club operators should recognise that they have a responsibility to ensure that any facilities they provide for their customers have a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment in place which is reviewed regularly.”