Posted: Tue 27th Feb 2024

Former directors of Flip Out Chester fined after 270 injured

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Two men from a Chester-based trampoline business have been handed fines and costs totalling £72,800 for health and safety offences.

David Shuttleworth, 33, of Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent was fined £6,500, plus £50,000 costs, and Matthew Melling, 33, of Spinningfields, Manchester was fined £6,300, plus £10,000 costs.

Both were also ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work.

Previously, in October 2023, each pleaded guilty to an offence contrary to Sections 3 and 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, for failing to prevent exposure to risk at Chester Crown Court.

This followed an investigation by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Public Protection team at the trampoline and adventure park known as ‘Flip Out’ located between Chester and Ellesmere Port.

Between 10 December 2016 and 3 February 2017 more than 270 members of the public were injured using the facility’s Tower Jump and Pit.

Of those 270 injuries, 11 casualties suffered significant spinal fractures and four needed surgery, some on an emergency basis.

Of the 270+ injuries, 123 related to knee-to-face contacts resulting in dental damage as well as cuts and bruises to the face, including nose bleeds; other injuries were also significant, including broken ribs.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Homes, Planning and Safer Communities, Councillor Christine Warner said: “The statistics in this case are truly shocking.  Residents and visitors in Cheshire West and Chester are entitled to expect that public recreation facilities in the borough are safe.

“These Directors were both aware that members of the public were being injured but their approach to investigating why that was happening and therefore ensuring public safety, was negligent.

“The Council is the regulator of facilities like Flip Out and has a responsibility to protect the public.  The conviction and sentence of these two individuals sends a message to all those running popular recreation facilities of any sort.”

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