Illegal gas fitter faces prison threat for unsafe work

An unregistered gas fitter has received a nine month suspended prison sentence for illegally carrying out sub-standard gas work at two chip shops in South Wales.

Abergavenny Magistrates’ Court heard on Monday (21 January) that Richard Trezise, from Maesteg, installed a chip fryer at a fish bar in New Tredegar between July and September 2011 that was classed as ‘immediately dangerous’.

Gas Safe inspectors found a number of safety defects with the gas appliance, including pipework being connected in a way that could have resulted in a serious gas leak if not rectified.

The Health and Safety Executive investigated and served Mr Trezise with a Prohibition Notice on 12 December 2011 preventing him from carrying out any further gas work until he was recognised by the Gas Safe Register.

However, in October 2012 a further complaint was received about Mr Trezise’s work, this time in relation to the installation of a gas frying range at a fish bar in Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan.

An environmental health officer from Vale of Glamorgan Council visited the premises and witnessed him working on the appliance.

The installation was inspected by a Gas Safe Register investigator and a number of deficiencies were found, leading to the equipment being classed as “at risk”. Further investigation revealed that Trezise had never registered for Gas Safe Register membership.

Richard Trezise, of Christopher Road, Maesteg, pleaded guilty to four charges under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and a single breach of the Heath and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

He was given a nine month prison sentence suspended for two years and was ordered to pay £1,500 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Sara Joanne Carter, said:

“Every year there are fires, explosions and people are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning as a direct result of gas appliances being improperly installed or maintained. In order to prevent such incidents, it is a fundamental requirement that anyone who works on gas appliances is competent to do so.

“The law requires both employers and the self-employed to register with the Gas Safe Register. Richard Trezise was neither a Gas Safe Registered engineer, nor had he undertaken any formal training or assessment.

“Because he had some experience in the manufacture of chip fryers he believed he was competent. However, the serious safety deficiencies we identified with his work proves that wasn’t the case. He was operating in an illegal and unsafe manner.”

Paul Johnston, 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.