Tourist board crowns dented

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THE ENGLISH Tourist Board admitted last night it did not always check that establishments had met legal safety requirements before awarding its sought-after crowns and commendations.

As police and health and safety officers continued their investigation into the deaths of two women guests at a country pub in Shropshire, the ETB said it did not always ask to see documents when it made its inspections.

"It is a requirement that all our establishments have to ensure they comply with regulations but we do not check [in each case]," a spokeswoman said. "We can ask for evidence if we suspect something is amiss but I don't know if this was the case."

Police yesterday named the two women who died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning while staying at the Crown Inn at Wentor, Shropshire. Helen Marks, 31, from Leeds, and her friend Kay Stenning, 30, from Richmond, south-west London, were discovered by staff slumped in their guest room on Sunday morning. They were thought to have been attending a college reunion.

A West Mercia Ambulance spokesman said they were believed to have been poisoned by carbon monoxide fumes from a leaking gas boiler underneath their room.

Two other guests who were found unconscious at the pub, which is on the slopes of the Long Mynd, were named as brother and sister Steven and Caroline Ford.

Steven, from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, and Caroline, of London, were flown by air ambulance to a decompression unit at Murrayfield Hospital in The Wirral, Merseyside, and were said to be recovering well.

There was no one available for comment at the pub yesterday.