THE former owner of a town centre takeaway who admitted a series of safety breaches while housing illegal immigrants has been sentenced.

Shahid Aleem, of Bridge Street, was handed a six month sentence which was suspended for 12 months at Warrington Crown Court on Tuesday.

The court heard how the 34-year-old repeatedly ignored warnings from Cheshire Fire Service about the fire measures and preventions that were in place at the takeaway and did not act on orders to improve.

This included issues with the fire alarms, taped-up smoke detectors, plug sockets covered in scorch marks and evidence of smoking in the property.

Cheshire Fire Service were notified by Warrington Borough Council on November 6, 2012, of concerns that there were people living in the upper floors of the premises when it was unsafe to do so.

A prohibition notice was served on Aleem but on repeated visits it was discovered that two people were still living in the property and there was still issues surrounding fire safety.

Prosecuting, Warren Spencer, said in an interview in March 2014 Aleem had admitted receiving the notice and had failed to comply.

He said: "He [Aleem] had allowed the two tenants to stay in the premises because they were asylum seekers and they were in danger as a result of their status.

"They were over 16 and he had explained the fire deficiencies and it was their risk and their risk to take."

While there was no evidence he had made money by opening up the property to the two people, Judge Tina Landale dismissed Aleem's claim that he had not charged rent.

Defending, Umar Shahzaz, said the defendant was struggling with money issues and was considering filing for bankruptcy.

He also added that Aleem denied putting tape over the smoke detector.

But Judge Landale said Aleem was putting his tenants' lives at risk.

She said: "You are in business in Warrington with a takeaway and it is clear you were struggling financially.

"I'm sure you allowed two people to reside upstairs to subsidise your income.

"The fire service attended at your property and found it in a dangerous state."

Aleem was also ordered to carry out 280 hours of unpaid work and a £600 fine.

Following the sentencing, Ian Kay, station manager of the community fire detection department, welcomed the sentence.

He said: "This sends a strong message to the community and to other people with these types of businesses that we do not condone poor fire safety standards and a flagrant disregard for public safety."

THE current owner of another business - also called Brecks - has spoken out to clarify that his premises have no connection to this case.

Owner Zahid Kalim opened a new business on Bridge Street in 2014.

This has no connection to the business on lower Bridge Street.