The owner of a hotel in Barking has been ordered to pay £50,000 after continuing to take guests despite being issued with a prohibition notice for serious fire safety failings.

Naveed Mir, who owns The Bank Hotel in Ripple Road, was sentenced on October 13 for several breaches of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

In May 2018, London Fire Brigade inspectors visited the hotel and found deficiencies significant enough to warrant a prohibition notice.

The brigade's assistant commissioner, Charlie Pugsley, said: "When our inspectors visited this property, it wasn't immediately obvious it was a hotel, particularly given the state of the first floor, but it was clear guests had been staying in the building.

"The lack of safety measures in place, coupled with the refurbishment work and numerous signs of cigarette butts, all could have been a recipe for disaster.

"The lack of a fire alarm and insufficient means of escape could have easily led to a fatality if there had been a fire in the premises."

Other safety deficiencies reportedly included a lack of fire doors, no smoke detectors and cigarette butts found on the floor near a bed, on windowsills and in other areas.

Further inspections carried out during the subsequent two months found the prohibition notice had been taken down.

But London Fire Brigade said guests had still been staying in the hotel and there had been no obvious measures taken to remedy the deficiencies.

After a final visit in September 2018, inspectors were satisfied there were sufficient fire safety measures in place and the prohibition notice was removed.

Mir was this year charged with several breaches of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which included two breaches of the prohibition notice.

He pleaded not guilty but was found guilty after a trial and fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs at Southwark Crown Court on October 13. 

He was also ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge and received custodial sentences, suspended for two years.

Mr Pugsley added: "It's vital for all business owners to be aware of their legal fire safety responsibilities.

"There's no excuse for leaving people's safety to chance, especially when information is so readily available to those with responsibility for safety in buildings to understand what their duties are and ensure they comply with the law."