St Leonards hotelier fined over ‘serious’ fire safety breaches

A St Leonards hotelier who ‘ignored’ numerous ‘serious’ fire safety breaches was fined more than £5,500 after a successful prosecution by the fire authority.

Dr Woo Sueng Sin, who runs the Royal Victoria Hotel on Marina, pleaded guilty to breaching enforcement notices over insufficient standard of fire doors. The hotelier was ordered to pay £1,174 in fines plus East Sussex Fire Authority’s £4,264 costs and a £117 victim surcharge at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on February 24.


East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service business safety manager Richard Fowler said Dr Shin ignored the ‘seriousness’ of the fire safety breaches endangering the lives of those working and staying.  “It is an expectation that those who are in the hospitality industry place fire safety high on their agenda and have a full understanding of the expectations placed on them in order to keep people safe from fire,” he said. “Inspecting officers worked closely with Dr Shin to ensure the hotel was brought up to a minimum standard of fire safety but he continued to ignore the serious nature of this case. “The fire authority will always seek to prosecute those who persistently fail to protect others in order to ensure that those people who may be working or staying at a hotel are kept safe.”

Concerns were raised by a member of the public about the state of the Royal Victoria which prompted an audit by inspecting officers in October, 2015.

A number of issues were found including the fire doors on rooms serving sleeping accommodation were not of a sufficient standard. An enforcement notice was issued requiring him to address these fire safety breaches and ensure the fire safety at the hotel was brought up to a satisfactory standard. Dr Shin was provided with sufficient timescales to complete the works but he failed to do so, a fire service spokesman said. “This case was further aggravated by the repeated reminders that were given to Dr Shin over time, and the issuing of an informal caution to Dr Shin in September 2012,” the spokesman said.

In sentencing, the magistrates said he had ignored reminders regarding the outstanding work over an extended period of time. Dr Shin had also mislead the fire service when he wrote to them saying the work had been completed but inspecting officers later found that this was not the case.