Gas fitter may face prison after illegal work in Essex

An unregistered gas fitter has received a suspended prison sentence for illegally carrying out sub-standard gas work at a property in Essex.

Steven Arnold, 51, trading as Thermostat Plumbing and Heating Services of Hackney, north east London, installed a boiler, pipework and a new cooker fitting at a property in Leigh on Sea. However, neither Mr Arnold nor the person he paid to help him carry out the work were registered with Gas Safe Register as qualified and competent to carry out gas work.

Southend Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday (16 January 2103) that the tenant of the property became suspicious when she received a landlord’s gas safety inspection record that contained details of a registered gas engineer who had never visited the property.

She contacted Gas Safe Register who sent an investigator to inspect the installation. Gas Safe Register found that the installation did not meet current standards and advised that remedial work be carried out.

Mr Arnold, of Albion Drive, Hackney, admitted breaching Section 3(2) of the Heath and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was given a 2 month prison sentence suspended for 18 months. He was also fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £1,760 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Vicky Fletcher said:

“Mr Arnold installed a gas boiler and gas pipework knowing he was not legally allowed to do so. Unregistered gas fitters do not have the training, knowledge or experience to work on gas fittings safely. They endanger the lives of the public for financial gain, fraudulently avoiding the time and expense of becoming competent and registered.

“Every year around 15 people die from CO poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated.

“Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause fires, explosions, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning. Homeowners, landlords and tenants should always request ID and check their engineer is properly accredited.”

Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, added:

“Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries a Gas Safe ID card, which shows who they are and the type of gas appliances they are qualified to work on. We always encourage the public to ask for and check the card and if they have any concerns about the safety of work carried out in their home, to speak to us. Every year we investigate thousands of reports of illegal gas work. Call us on 0800 408 5500 or visit our website at link to external website.”