Retford: Takeaway owner sentenced for gas explosion

Retford Express, RetfordRetford Express, Retford
Retford Express, Retford
An explosion at a Retford takeaway could have injured shoppers and a young family living upstairs, a court has heard.

Worksop Magistrates’ Court was told the defects on the pizza oven at Retford Express in Coronation Street were branded ‘abundant and obvious’ by an expert.

The pizza oven exploded on the afternoon of 17th February 2012, injuring employee Sarvet Soyturk, - burning his face, chest and arms and causing long-term psychological problems.

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Ali Birok, 42, who runs the takeaway admitted four charges relating to the Health and Safety at Work Act at a previous court hearing.

He was given an eight week prison sentence suspended for a year and ordered to carry out 220 hours unpaid work. He must also pay a £3,500 fine.

District judge Diane Baker said a custodial sentence was the only appropriate sentence available to her.

She said the potential serious potential to those working at the takeaway were ‘entirely foreseeable.’

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“You didn’t just put him (Mr Soyturk) at risk, you put your wife and child at risk who were upstairs. You could have killed someone that was walking by that afternoon,” she added.

Peter Burns, prosecuting for Bassetlaw Council, told the court that there was no evidence that the oven had been maintained for 10 years.

On the day of the explosion Mr Soyturk arrived at the takeaway to find he had left the gas mains on to the oven the previous day.

Mr Burns said the oven was lit by switching the gas on at the mains and using a long taper to light it.

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He added: “An expert found there was a very poor standard of gas safety. The defects were abundant and obvious and there was no competent gas safety maintenance that took place for a significant period of time.”

The explosion caused the front of the shop to be blown out of position and glass to crack. Mr Soyturk was treated in a specialist burns unit and still suffers psychological effects. He is unable to go near ovens or similar appliances.

Ali Has, defending, said Birok - whose pregnant wife was in court with him - was a committed family man, who on the day of the explosion was out swimming with his son.

He added that the offences were not financially motivated and occurred as a lack of knowledge about gas safety, maintenance and health and safety regulations.

Mr Has told the court that the correct gas safety certificates were obtained and maintenance took place following the incident.

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