Cornish gas fitter left hob in dangerous state

An illegal gas fitter, who was unqualified to carry out work on gas appliances, left a hob he worked on in a dangerous condition, a court heard today (7 February).

Michael Rowe, from Bodmin, was contracted to install a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) hob and associated pipework in a house at Trispen, near Truro, during a refurbishment project between June and August 2011.

In March 2013 there was a fire from the gas pipe supplying the gas hob. A subsequent inspection by a Gas Safe registered engineer found that compression joints on the installation were weeping LPG.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated, found Mr Rowe was not a registered gas engineer, had never been a member of the Gas Safe Register, or its predecessor, CORGI.

Truro Magistrates’ Court was told Mr Rowe’s substandard work had posed a serious threat of fire and explosion.

Michael Rowe, of Gilbert Road, Bodmin pleaded guilty to a breach of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined a total of £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,770 in costs. He was also ordered to pay £250 in compensation to the homeowner.

HSE Inspector Simon Jones, speaking after the hearing, said:

“Mr Rowe should not have been carrying out work on gas appliances because he is not qualified or competent to do so. His substandard work put the lives of other people at risk.  Anyone who works on gas fittings and is not Gas Safe registered is working illegally.

Russell Kramer, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said:

“Illegal gas work puts lives and homes at risk, with around one in five jobs investigated by the Register found to be immediately dangerous. The best way for people to stay gas safe is to make sure that they only use a registered engineer to carry out gas work in their home. You can check an engineer is registered by asking to see their Gas Safe ID card; by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or by visiting the website, link to external website.”

Further information on gas safety can be found on the HSE website at