A MASSAGE parlour which had a “dungeon room” with restraints and manacles put workers and clients at risk by flouting fire safety regulations, a court heard.

Scarlett’s, in Infant Street, Prestwich, ignored a warning letter from the fire service and when inspectors visited the premises in May last year, they found that staff could not open a fire escape door, and that another escape route was blocked by locked shutters.

The building was dark and dimly lit and corridors were blocked by obstacles including a clothes rack in front of a fire escape.

But in court, Dawn Donoghue, a single mother-of-four, was painted as a caring boss who supported more mature women.

Defending, Lisa Roberts said: “It is not a profit-making business.

“The ladies are of a certain age and are ladies that she helps and who might otherwise be out on the street competing with other younger more attractive ladies.”

The 46-year-old, the court was told, rents out the rooms to women.

There are four rooms in the massage parlour, each with a bed. There is also a changing room, a social area and a small kitchen, the court was told.

There was a four-poster bed in one room with curtains lining the walls.

The business has weekly rent and bills of £410 and needs three to four customers a week to break even, the court heard.

Donoghue has three children living at home who are currently studying.

She has more than £6,000 in debt stacked up on credit cards and lives off £50 a week for food and clothing.

She claims £170-a-week in benefits — working tax credits and child tax credits — the court heard.

After the visit from inspectors, Donoghue put measures in place to improve fire safety.

Miss Roberts, defending, added: “There was an attempt to remedy these faults the next day and by October, the business was fully compliant with fire regulations.”

Donoghue had believed fire safety was the responsibility of her landlord, the court heard.

She pleaded guilty to five counts of breaching fire safety regulations.

Sentencing, Recorder Eric Lamb said: “Staff and customers were exposed to grave danger.

“So woefully lacking in training were staff that even they could not open the fire escape.

“What hope for any customers visiting?”

Donoghue, of Maple Road, Swinton, was ordered to carry out 60 hours unpaid work and to pay £240 costs.