MJB hotelier Tony Burlingham fined after admitting verbally abusing Norfolk fire safety officers
PUBLISHED: 13:37 26 June 2017 | UPDATED: 08:12 27 June 2017
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Two fire safety officers were left distraught after being verbally abused by hotelier Tony Burlingham, Norwich Magistrates' Court heard.
Burlingham, 50, of Langham Hall in Holt, was ordered to pay £515 after pleading guilty to two charges of using threatening, abusive words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
It followed an incident at Burlingham’s The Governor’s Hotel - part of his MJB Hotel group - in Earlham Road, Norwich on November 15 last year.
The court heard Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service safety officers Tim Allison and Sarah Palmer visited the hotel at 9.50am for an inspection in the wake of a fire at the hotel on October 12. Burlingham arrived shortly afterwards and called Mr Allison and Ms Palmer liars, swearing at them both.
Fergus Harold, prosecuting, said they left about 20 minutes after Burlingham arrived, feeling “extremely shaken” by the hotelier’s behaviour.
Mr Harold said that although Mr Allison had been sworn at before on the job, the encounter had disproportionately affected him and he became increasingly worried about his safety, to the extent that he needed counselling.
Mr Harold said: “It was over a month before he began to feel more settled. His mental health has been detrimentally affected by this incident.”
He said Ms Palmer similarly feared for her safety after the incident, saying: “She said she never felt so threatened or so vulnerable.”
Richard Atchley, mitigating, said Burlingham was upset at Mr Allison and Ms Palmer because they had falsely told a senior fire officer, Jonathan Wilby, that the hotel was manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Mr Atchley also questioned the impact the encounter could have had on the fire officers.
He said: “This isn’t the Bronx, he isn’t Al Capone. This is about a five-minute argument.”
Mr Atchley also claimed Mr Allison and Ms Palmer had lifted a closure notice on the hotel imposed just after the October 12 fire, which Burlingham did not like.
Nigel Stringer, chairman of the bench, ordered Burlingham to pay a £150 fine for each offence, £85 in costs, a £30 victim surcharge and £50 compensation to each victim.