A care provider has been fined more than £100,000 for housing vulnerable people in homes with missing smoke alarms and broken fire doors.

Inspectors found Care Pro South East, which owns homes across Bexhill, had buildings with a lack of smoke detectors and defective fire doors, putting residents at risk.

The company, which houses and provides care for people with learning disabilities and autism, was also found not to have undertaken risk assessments.

A spokesman for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said the case was one of the most serious it had prosecuted.

Inspections by the fire service in October and November 2022 found a lack of smoke alarms at the company’s Eden Lodge property in Egerton Road, Bexhill.

The inspectors banned Care Pro from letting residents sleep there until fire alarms were installed.

Similar issues including a lack of risk assessments and maintenance problems were found at other sites including Park Apartments and Park View, both in Egerton Road, and Beau Lodge in Jameson Road, Bexhill.

On Tuesday, company directors Thuraisamy Ravichandran and Radha Ravichandran pleaded guilty to 12 fire safety offences.

Judge Tessa Szagun, sitting at Brighton Magistrates' Court, fined the company a total of £110,000 and ordered it to pay £14,455 in costs.

She said the owners should have taken the time to understand published regulations and guidance when providing this type of service.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue enforcement manager Craig Williams said: “The fire service considers this one of the most serious cases we have ever prosecuted due to a number of offences found in various premises operated by the company.

“The fine handed down by the court today reflects the serious nature of the offences. Owners and those responsible for any premises where the fire service find fire safety contraventions are reminded of the potential consequences, including unlimited fines and potential custodial sentences.”

George O’Reilly, head of fire safety for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We will not hesitate to take legal action against anyone responsible for placing people at risk of death or injury from fire due to their failures to meet the requirements of this legislation."