Councillor Brian Silvester fined for safety breaches

A Cheshire East councillor has been fined for fire safety breaches at a property he rented out.

Brian Silvester, 60, was fined £45,000 at Chester Crown Court for failing to obtain the necessary licence for a house in multiple occupation and 11 fire safety offences.

He admitted the charges at an earlier hearing.

The fire service said after the case, the breaches "could ultimately have led to serious injury or potential death".

'Potential death'

The ward councillor for Willaston appeared in court alongside his brother Colin Silvester, 58, who was fined £37,500 for the same offences.

Both men pleaded guilty to the charges, relating to Shavington House Farm, Crewe Road, Shavington, at Crewe Magistrates' Court in July.

The councillor, of Shavington House Farm, and his brother, of Pinewood Crescent, Holcombe Brook, Bury, Greater Manchester, were each ordered to pay costs of £22,000 by recorder Elgan Edwards.

Lee Shears, from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "The seriousness of the breaches could ultimately have led to serious injury or potential death in the event of a fire but thankfully one didn't occur and we've not had to see any of those risks realised."

He added: "They were very serious breaches, some of the most serious we have seen in premises of this type."

Former tenant John Masters said he was so concerned about safety breaches at the property, he left a lump hammer on a window sill in his room.

Lump hammer

He said: "The first thing I thought was how to get out in case of fire.

"I tied a long scaffold rope from a beam which I could throw out of the window.

"I literally had a lump hammer and a pair of gloves on the window sill so that I could smash the frame, because it was only a small window, and slide down the rope with a pair of gloves.

"It wasn't a joke and it wasn't for show, it had been there from the day I moved in."

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