An Essex gas installer has been given a suspended prison sentence and 150 hours of unpaid community work for carrying out illegal and dangerous gas work at a home in Colchester.

William Saint, 75, from Chelmsford, was hired to install a gas fired boiler to heat a swimming pool at a home on Hall Cut Road, Brightlingsea, on 1 April 2013, even though he was not registered with Gas Safe Register – as UK law requires.

Despite making several attempts at installing the boiler, it failed to operate successfully and was deemed to be immediately dangerous when it was later inspected by British Gas.

Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard today (1 May) that despite receiving advice from a Gas Safe Register engineer, Mr Saint failed to rectify all of the faults. The installation was classed as ‘at risk’ by Gas Safe Register and the matter was passed to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who prosecuted Mr Saint for safety failings.

William Saint, of Cherry Blossom Lane, Cold Norton, Chelmsford, was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, as well as 150 hours of unpaid community work after being found guilty of three separate breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was also ordered to pay costs of £850.

After the case, HSE Inspector Vicky Fletcher said:

“William Saint was well aware that he should be registered with Gas Safe Register in order to carry out gas work, yet he still chose to flout the law.

“People can die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and gas explosions. It is therefore vital that only registered gas engineers, who are trained and competent, work on gas appliances and fittings.”

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 link to external website.”

Further information about gas safety can be found online