Café owner receives custodial sentence for health and safety breach

Date Released - 26/05/2023

A café owner in Hyde has received a custodial sentence this week, for breaching Health and Safety at Work legislation.

Paul Ormiston, business operator of Bake N Butty, 17 Clarendon Place, Hyde, pleaded guilty on 21 December 2022 to the offence of failing to exercise his duty as an employer, to ensure that persons not in his employment are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. On 24 March 2021, a serious incident occurred involving the release of carbon monoxide at Bake N Butty. Emergency services attended resulting in three affected residents in the immediate vicinity of the premises being admitted to hospital.

Upon entering the premises, a petrol generator was found in the basement which appeared to be providing electricity to the premises.

Following an investigation carried out by Tameside Council’s Environmental Services Team. Mr Ormiston admitted to installing a petrol generator in the basement of the premises on 24 March 2021 to provide power to two freezers as his electricity supply had been disconnected by the supplier the day before due to non-payment of electricity bills.

Environmental Health Officers served a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice to prevent the café from operating due to the lack of electricity and a Health and Safety Prohibition Notice preventing the use of a generator inside the building.

Mr Ormiston appeared at Tameside Magistrates Court on Monday 22 May 2023 for sentencing. The Magistrates were of the view that the offence was so serious only a custodial sentence would suffice; the actions of placing a petrol generator in an enclosed place was extremely reckless, putting occupants’ lives at risk with them having to be hospitalised.

Mr Ormiston was sentenced to 18 weeks custodial sentence which was reduced from 26 weeks to give credit for his early guilty plea and suspended for 12 months. In addition, he was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, 20 rehabilitation activity days, £120 victim surcharge and £5000 towards the Council’s prosecution costs.

The Magistrates concluded that it was lucky nobody lost their lives.

Tameside Council Assistant Executive Member responsible for enforcement, Cllr Vincent Ricci said “Tameside Council treats health and safety very seriously and will take action to protect the public when a breach occurs and where employers fail to meet the standards required to ensure the health and safety of both employees and members of the public.”

Petrol generators should not be used inside buildings, they must only be used in a well-ventilated area because they are known to emit carbon monoxide. The court recognised the seriousness of this breach and imposed a custodial sentence alongside community orders and costs”.

To find out more about the health and safety legislation relevant for business go to