An illegal gas fitter has been prosecuted for endangering lives at a property in Surrey with shoddy and unsafe work.
Michael Gill, 66, installed a new gas boiler and flue at a house in Kingsmead Park, Elstead, on 5 March 2008, both of which were left in a dangerous condition.
Guildford Magistrates’ Court heard today (1 May) that he falsely claimed to be a registered gas engineer approved by the Health and Safety Executive to carry out gas work.
He continued to operate with bogus CORGI accreditation and returned to the same property on four separate occasions between 5 March 2009 and 22 June 2011 to annually service the boiler. During this time he should have been registered with the Gas Safe Register, which replaced CORGI as the watchdog for gas safety on 1 April 2009.
Gas Safe Register inspected the boiler and found a number of defects with Mr Gill’s installation. Three of these were classed as ‘immediately dangerous’, four were designated ‘at risk’ and six were deemed as ‘not to current standards’. As a result the gas supply was turned off until the boiler and flue were made safe, and the matter was passed to HSE.
Mr Gill, of Beech Hanger Road, Grayshott, pleaded guilty to multiple breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 for his work and for operating illegally. He was fined £600 and ordered to pay £385 in costs. He attended court having been arrested for failing to show at an earlier hearing on 30 April.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Andrew Cousins said:
“In order to work legally in the UK, gas installers must be registered with the appropriate approved body – as Michael Gill is fully aware. Yet he defied this requirement and endangered lives with an installation that was shoddy at best and in reality was a potential death trap.
“Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause fires, explosions, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning. Homeowners should always request ID and check their engineer is properly accredited.
“HSE will simply not tolerate the cavalier attitude to safety demonstrated by Mr Gill and other illegal operators who give legitimate professionals a bad name.”
Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, added:
“Every Gas Safe registered engineer has an ID which shows who they are and the type of appliances they are qualified to work on.
“We always encourage the public to check the card and, if they have any concerns about the gas safety of any work which is carried out, to speak to us. Every year we inspect and investigate thousands of reports to ensure they are safe and that the work has been carried out by those qualified to do it. Call us on 0800 408 5500 or visit our website at www.gassaferegister.co.uk .”
Further information about gas safety can be found online at www.hse.gov.uk/gas