Animal sanctuary owner faces jail over fire safety breaches

The owner of an animal sanctuary in Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, could be facing a jail sentence after he admitted breaching a number of fire safety regulations.

John Warwick-Huckvale, 53, is being prosecuted over fire safety offences at the Swindon and District Animal Haven, which is based at Warwick Farm in Ballards Ash. Inspectors visited the animal haven back in March 2010 and uncovered a series of problems, which could have put the lives of visitors and staff in danger.

Amongst other issues, inspectors found that the fire alarms didn’t work, one of the fire extinguishers was not usable and other fire safety equipment was not easily accessible. There were also problems with fire safety signage, as well as other systems for fire safety. It is not known whether Warwick-Huckvale or his wife, who run the sanctuary together, had undergone basic fire safety training or not.

At Swindon Crown Court recently, Warwick-Huckvale pleaded guilty to five breaches of fire safety regulations. The maximum sentence for these offences is a two year prison sentence, plus a hefty fine. The 53-year-old must now submit a financial report before sentencing can take place.