A property developer has received a suspended nine-month prison sentence for breaching fire safety regulations.

Appearing at Leicester Crown Court, Robert Price was also ordered to pay £40,000 in fines and costs for serious fire safety offences relating to the Lillie House property he owned in Leicester city centre.

In October 2010, officers from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service found that the home on Condit Street was being used by students despite a number of fire safety failings.

A prohibition notice was then issued to prevent the home being used as student accommodation, however a subsequent investigation revealed that people were still living in the property.

Mr Price pleaded guilty to breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order at an earlier magistrates hearing but was sentenced in a crown court due to the severity of the offences.

Rick Taylor, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, area manager for community safety said “Those put at risk were young students, many of whom were away from home for the first time, placing their trust in Price.

“These students were let down and misled into believing they could return to their accommodation, despite the serious fire safety failings.”

A suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment should have been completed on this property and then these failings could have been identified earlier.