THE man who created a fire safety risk “too awful to contemplate” by massive overcrowding during at an event at York's Kuda nightclub has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Together with the club’s owners Deltic Group Limited and door staff company Securigroup Services Ltd, its former general manager Wayne Mason will pay £110,000 in fines and court costs.

Sailesh Mehta, prosecuting, said the Clifford Street club’s maximum safe capacity was 645.

But by 1am on November 25, 2017, there were 1,300 customers, most of them squeezed into a 22 metres by 22 metres area on the first floor during a Basshunter event.

“Had there been a fire, it is too awful to contemplate what might have happened,” Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said at Leeds Crown Court. “There was an obvious and very real risk of death or serious injury to a large number of people had a fire occurred.”

The overcrowding had clearly caused some customers distress on the night, he said.

Mr Mehta, for North Yorkshire Fire Authority, said advance ticket sales exceeded the maximum safe capacity, but Mason still allowed people to buy tickets on the door.

When the door staff objected he over-ruled them and people continued to go into the nightclub.

The judge said: “His behaviour in relation to this event was so serious it clearly crosses the custodial threshold.”

Mason, 41, of Mill Lane, Kirk Ella, Hull, pleaded guilty to putting lives in danger by breaching fire regulations.

He was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for two years on condition he does 160 hours’ unpaid work.

Deltic Group Ltd, of Rooksley, Milton Keynes, pleaded guilty to two similar offences and was fined £42,000. Securigroup Services Ltd, of Bath Street, Glasgow, which provided door staff under contract to Deltic, pleaded guilty to one similar offence and was fined £18,000. All three defendants will each pay a third of the prosecution’s £50,000 costs.

Mason’s barrister James Lake said he left Deltic Group, for whom he had worked for 15 years, in October 2018.

He had wanted to make a success of the event, which had been the first of six across the country in Deltic Group nightclubs.

He had contributed to Deltic Group’s new admissions policy drawn up after the event and now worked at a reduced income for a pub company.

For Deltic Group, Chris Kennedy QC said it took safety very seriously, had an excellent safety record and had won awards. It ran nightclubs across the country.

For Securigroup, Mark Harris said it, like other security firms, hadn’t appreciated before the overcrowding that it could be prosecuted for following the directions of a site’s management.

Both companies had changed their procedures since November 2017 to prevent a similar offences happening again, their barristers said.

Mr Mehta said the risk to Kuda customers had a fire broken out that night had been increased by several factors.

The loud music would have prevented customers from hearing evacuation instructions.

The overcrowding would have prevented staff from seeing which customers needed help and from getting to customers needing help.

The evacuation routes were narrow.

Most of the customers had been drinking and many may have been unfamiliar with the nightclub’s layout.

Judge Marson said the nightclub did not have an adequate way of recording how many people were in the building at any one time.

The official attendance sheet for November 24, 2017 “has mysteriously disappeared,” he said.

Although he accepted that Mason had not benefited directly from the overcrowding, he said he must have considered he would benefit financially in the future.

Mr Lake said Deltic had put Mason through a disciplinary hearing.

Kuda announced on Facebook two days before the event that it was sold out.

The post continued: “We open the full venue from 10pm and we have allocated a limited number of tickets for people to purchase on the door. These are first come first serve so make sure you get down early!”

Several people tried to buy tickets via Facebook from other people in the days leading up to the event.