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Marlie Farm significant findings report

Two long-serving members of ESFRS, Geoff Wicker and Brian Wembridge, lost their lives while attending the incident at Shortgate near Lewes, on December 3rd 2006.

In December 2009, a father and son were convicted of their manslaughter. Martin Winter, owner of Festival Fireworks UK Ltd, was sentenced to seven years at Lewes Crown Court. His son Nathan was sentenced to five years (reduced to four years on appeal in 2010). No criminal charges were brought against any member of the ESFRS.

The court heard Martin Winter was "grossly negligent" as he knew an unlicensed metal container packed with fireworks could explode if a blaze broke out.

In July 2011, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service publishes its Significant Findings Report below.

As the Winters’ insurance was invalid because of the illegal storage of fireworks at Marlie Farm, victims of the tragedy were forced to seek compensation elsewhere. A civil case, involving East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s insurers Zurich, began at the High Court in London in February 2013.

Significant Findings Report 

Note: This large document can not be printed.

To request a hard copy of the report please contact