Greene King in Bury St Edmunds is cautioned after inspectors find gas safety failings

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Greene King has been given cautions after admitting gas safety failures at 10 Suffolk pubs.

A major investigation of all 22 Greene King pubs in Mid Suffolk was carried out after district council inspectors raised gas safety concerns during a routine food hygiene inspection at The Five Bells in Hessett in 2010.

That inspection by the council’s Environmental Health team with support from the Gas Safe Register, led to concerns at another nine pubs:

–The Dog Inn in Norton

–The Chestnut Horse in Great Finborough

–The Shepherd and Dog in Onehouse

–The Brewers Arms in Rattlesden

–Little Wellington in Stowmarket

–The Cross Keys in Redgrave

–The Six Bells in Felsham

–Gardeners Arms in Tostock

–The Victoria in Thurston

“The investigation revealed safety concerns in half of the pubs visited, which included: gas leaks, appliances considered far too dangerous to use, appliances which had previously been identified as dangerous by an engineer but never remedied, equipment not serviced in line with legal specifications, missing safety devices and the lack of safety documentation,” said a Mid Suffolk District Council spokeswoman.

She said Greene King wrongly believed their tenants were responsible for on-going repair and maintenance of the gas equipment within their tenanted pubs.

The pubs firm has since taken measures to ensure the statutory testing of the thousands of individual pieces of equipment in all Greene King owned and controlled premises, covering areas such as fire, legionella, asbestos, electrical and gas safety.

Greene King has now been given cautions after admitting offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Gas Safety Regulations.

A spokeswoman for Mid-Suffolk said the matter had originally been listed for prosecution.

“Prosecution for us is the last resort,” she said. “The investigation grew quite quickly and Greene King became more cooperative so we withdrew the prosecution.”

Mike Gore, business risk manager for Greene King said: “As a landlord, Greene King takes very seriously the obligation to provide our tenants with gas appliances which are safe.

“Even a large organisation like ours may need guidance to fully understand the extent of a landlord’s obligation and that is what has happened following the investigation by Mid Suffolk’s Environmental Health team.

“We have now extended our process of annual inspections, backed up by further checks every time we take vacant possession of a building.

“That way every tenant knows that when they take a tenancy with Greene King, whether it is a pub or one of our residential lets, their gas safety is assured.”