Bradford man prosecuted for illegal gas work

A gas fitter from Bradford has been sentenced after leaving an elderly woman at risk when he fitted a new boiler at her home.

Gareth Harland, of Milligan Avenue, carried out the work between 19 and 27 February at the woman’s home but failed to seal the flue to the building. Unhappy with the work, the woman called Gas Safe and found out he wasn’t registered. A Gas Safe inspection later classified the work as ‘at risk’. The woman was able to stop her cheque for the work.

Around the same period, between 2 January and 2 February 2011, he fitted a new boiler for a couple in Otley. They also discovered he wasn’t accredited by the Gas Safe Register when he failed to contact the manufacturer about the boiler warranty. As a result of the complaints, an investigation was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Bradford magistrates heard that Mr Harland had been a registered gas engineer for several years and had been employed by some large companies before setting up as a sole trader. He let his registration lapse in June 2010 but carried on working as a gas installer.

The court was also told Mr Harland re-registered in March 2011 when his work was under investigation. In June, while he was under the supervision of Gas Safe Register, he installed a gas boiler at a commercial firm in Bradford which Gas Safe inspected and found to be unsafe.

HSE inspector Julian Franklin said:

“The failure of Mr Harland to maintain his registration and the fact that his work fell well below the standard expected, demonstrates an unacceptable degree of carelessness that left people, including a vulnerable elderly woman, in danger.

“Gas appliances that are not properly installed and adequately maintained by a competent registered installer pose a serious risk.

“We strongly advise that everyone who needs to have gas work done ensures that the tradesperson is registered with Gas Safe. Double check the person’s credentials – don’t just take their word that they are registered.”

Gareth Harland of Milligan Avenue, Bradford, admitted four charges under the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. He was given a 12 months community order of 200 hours unpaid work, ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a further £350 in compensation to the Otley householder for work that had to be re-done.