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Trampoline park bosses face jail after eleven people break backs

Trampoline park bosses face jail after eleven people break backs

Visitors at Flip Out Chester were 'injured on a daily basis' while 11 people fractured their spines.

The bosses of a UK trampoline park could be locked up after 11 people broke their backs and countless others were 'injured on a daily basis'.

Scores of Brits who visited Flip Out Chester sustained horror injuries during what was meant to be a fun day out.

Former directors David Shuttleworth and Matthew Melling, both 33, pleaded guilty to health and safety offences last month.

They were charged after an investigation was launched into the pair regarding 270 known accidents at the indoor playground over a seven-week period between December 2016 and February 2017.

David Shuttleworth and Matthew Melling potentially face jail.
MEN Media

Several young people suffered serious injuries after diving off the Tower Jump at the venue close to Ellesmere Port.

The bosses bragged that equipment was the largest of its kind in the world at the time.

Visitors would scale the 13ft high tower and jump off into a foam-filled pit - but they didn't have a safe and soft landing.

Three people fractured their spines in a single day in 2017.

One victim described it as the 'most pain I've ever suffered', while another recalled hearing a sickening 'crunch' when she landed.

Ambulance crews were attending Flip Out Chester once a week on average in the first four months since it opened.

The nearby Countess of Chester Hospital even spoke out about the increasing pressure the trampoline park was putting on its A&E department.

It called a meeting with the venue's bosses after specialist surgeons were routinely tied up with injuries sustained at Flip Out Chester.

Shuttleworth resigned as director in July 2018, while Melling quit in January 2020, according to reports.

Flip Out Chester is now operated by a different franchisee.

The former bosses both pleaded guilty to health and safety offences after an investigation by Cheshire West and Chester Council's public protection team.

They both admitted an offence of failing to prevent visitors exposure to risk when they appeared in the dock at Chester Crown Court on 9 October.

The pair could face up to two years in prison as well as hefty fines when they are sentenced.

Eleven people fractured their spines at Flip Out Chester.
Flip Out Chester

Melling had previously boasted that Flip Out Chester had 'almost 2,000 five-star reviews from happy customers' in the first six months of opening the park, the Daily Mail reported.

Councillor Christine Warner, the local authority's cabinet member for homes, said: "Our public protection team always deal strongly with businesses who put residents or visitors to the borough at risk.

"This business had a total disregard for safety regulations.

"Injuries in this case included 11 fractured spines, as well as other serious injuries. Those injured on a daily basis included both adults and children."

A spokesman for Flip Out, which has 30 centres in the UK, said: "The incidents relate to a specific piece of equipment that was immediately closed.

"Our systems and procedures have evolved significantly since."

Featured Image Credit: MEN Media/Flip Out Chester

Topics: UK News, News, Sport, Crime