A Chinese take-away has been closed down after council investigators found evidence that five people were living in the premises.
Officers making a routine visit to the Okay Café, in Byker Bank, Newcastle, discovered mattresses piled against kitchen walls, gas cylinders scattered around and fire doors blocked.
Tyne and Wear fire brigade also checked the premises and the owners, Alan Tsang and Aaron Leung from Gateshead, could now be prosecuted for breaching fire safety laws.
Tyne and Wear fire safety manager Mark Gerrard said: "During a joint enforcement inspection with the council we issued a prohibition notice on the Okay Café. This has effectively closed the premises due to severe breaches of fire safety law."
He added: "We found the ground floor and basement being used as sleeping accommodation. There were unsatisfactory means of escape and of raising an alarm in the event of a fire, and our crews were amazed to find 12 large liquid gas cylinders scattered around the premises."
Gerrard said this was not only a danger to those living on the premises but neighbours also.
By Nigel Green