In two separate cases, plumbers have received suspended prison sentences after completing unlawful gas works.
The first case involved Richard Smith who, despite being neither Gas Safe registered nor competent to carry out gas work, had left appliances in an “at risk” condition following annual gas safety checks on commercial gas cookers and a boiler respectively at Tasty Chicken in Westcliff-on-sea and The Chick Inn in Southend-on-sea. Mr Smith had continued working with gas appliances after his registration as a Gas Safe engineer with a previous employer lapsed, despite receiving a warning from the HSE in 2011 not to make false claims to clients.
Mr Smith pleaded guilty to six breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (the 1998 Regulations), three breaches for each of the premises. The Regulations breached were:
- Regulation 3(1) – prohibits persons carrying out gas work unless competent to do so
- Regulation 3(3) – prohibits self-employed persons from carrying out work in relation to gas fitting or service pipework unless they are registered on the Gas Safe Register
- Regulation 3(7) – no person shall pretend to be a member of a class of persons required to be approved
Mr Smith was imprisoned for four months, sentence suspended for 12 months, ordered to carry out 240 hours of community work and pay £892 in costs.
The second plumber, Glenn Edkins, was imprisoned for 6 months suspended for 12 months after installing a boiler in residential premises when unregistered to do so. Mr Edkins was called back by the residents after they smelt gas in the room where the boiler was installed when he fixed a leak. On checking the Gas Safe Register, the residents found that Mr Edkins was not registered and a subsequent inspection by a Gas Safe registered engineer found serious defects. The HSE issued a prohibition notice preventing Mr Edkins from carrying out further gas work and he was then prosecuted under Regulation 3(3) and 3(7) of the 1998 Regulations, as well as Regulation 26(1) – for installing a gas appliance that constituted a danger to persons when used.
In addition to the prison term, Mr Edkins was ordered to pay a compensation order of £1,275 and costs of £1,264.