A Milton Keynes plumber has been fined after putting householders at risk over many years after he repeatedly carried out gas fitting work while unqualified and unregistered.
Andrew Barnes, trading as APB Home Services Ltd, was found to have undertaken gas fitting work dating back to 2006. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that he deliberately and consistently pretended to be officially registered with Gas Safe and its predecessor, CORGI.
Mr Barnes ignored three warning letters from HSE and continued to advertise himself as a competent, registered gas engineer and to undertake illegal work on gas fittings and appliances in homes in the Milton Keynes area.
Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court heard today (1 Nov) that Mr Barnes, a plumber for over 30 years, traded as APB Home Services Ltd and was the sole worker in his company. He had never been trained to work with gas and neither he nor his company had ever been on official gas safety registers.
Despite that, the CORGI and Gas Safe logos appeared on his paperwork and on his website, and he regularly issued landlord gas safety records for the work he had completed.
Andrew Barnes, 52, of Furze Way, Wolverton, Milton Keynes was given a three year conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £600 after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. APB Home Services was fined £300 and ordered to pay costs of £525 for a single breach of the same Regulations.
After the case, HSE Inspector Robert Meardon said:
“This was not an isolated lapse but a prolonged and deliberate deception that could have put lives at risk across the Milton Keynes area.
“Mr Barnes was well aware of the risks but chose to ignore them – as he chose to ignore the specific warnings from HSE.
“People can die as a result of gas leaks. It is vital that only registered gas engineers, who are trained and competent, work on gas appliances and fittings. Registered engineers are on the Gas Safe Register.
“Unless you are on this Register, you should not undertake this work. If you are a landlord or a home owner, you need to make sure that you only use someone who is on the Register.”
Russell Kramer 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 www.gassaferegister.co.uk.”
Further information about gas safety can be found online at www.hse.gov.uk/gas