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Alton Towers faces multi-million pound fine over crash

Theme park owner pleads guilty to breaching health and safety laws following ride accident in June 2015

Pictured: The Smiler at Alton Towers

Alton Towers' owner is facing a multi-million pound fine after admitting breaking health and safety laws over a rollercoaster crash that left five people with life-changing injuries.

The theme park's owner, Merlin Entertainments, pleaded guilty in court in Newcastle-under-Lyme to breaching health and safety rules over the collision on the Smiler ride in June last year.

The crash saw two people have their legs amputated and left three people with serious injuries.

District judge John McGarva told the firm it faces a "very large" fine, possibly reaching seven figures, when the case appears before Stafford crown court on May 20.

Merlin said Alton Towers suffered a significant fall in visitors following the crash, which resulted in the theme park closing for four days, and also revealed the potential loss of up to 190 salaried jobs across the resort.

However, the firm overcame a drop in revenues at its theme parks to post a pre-tax profit increase of 0.3 per cent to £250m for the year to 26 December 2015.

Alton Towers provided the following statement in relation to the case: “Merlin Attractions Operations Limited today pleaded guilty to an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act. From the outset, the company has accepted responsibility for what happened in June last year and it has cooperated fully with the Health & Safety Executive in its investigation. We have sought to provide help and support to all those injured in the accident and will continue to do so.”

This year the resort has added 120 woodland lodges and five luxury treehouses to its portfolio of corporate accommodation, as well as launching its virtual reality rollercoaster Galactica to corporate groups in April.

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