A BUSINESSMAN told a court he was "really sorry" for failing to install basic life-saving safety equipment at his barber's shop, as a court fined him more than £10,000.

Mehmet Oncu, 36, leaseholder of Oh My Cut, in Main Road, Windermere, appeared at Furness Magistrates' Court on September 17 where he denied nine men had been living in the basement of his business, as concerns were raised over the safety of the building.

The Lancaster resident pleaded guilty to nine counts of failing to comply with the requirement of a prohibition notice and where failure risks serious injury or death in case of fire – charges which date back to May 5, 2017.

Oncu admitted he failed to install fire extinguishers, alarms, detectors, and lighting which would protect his staff in the event of a fire.

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The defendant played down claims made by inspectors from Cumbria County Council and the fire service, who believed a group of men had been living in the basement, despite the lack of basic safety equipment and inadequate lighting.

Oncu, who was not legally represented in court said: "The reason I'm here is because I'm the lease holder, I'm not a barber myself.

"I don't work there, but these guys have caused me trouble.

"I told them not to use the basement, but I didn't know.

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"I said to them, don't put me in trouble, but I am really sorry, I am sorry they put me in this position."

Speaking to the defendant, District Judge Gerald Chalk said: "You were aware that these people were sleeping in the premises and you failed to take action.

"This is a shocking abandonment, you have a responsibility.

"You've not taken any action."

Oncu was fined £500 for each offence, totalling £4,500 and ordered to pay £3,000 in legal costs incurred by Cumbria County Council and the cost of the three visits made by the fire service at a cost of £2,831.

He must also pay a victim surcharge of £170 making a total of £10,501.

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