Illegal gas fitter put lives at risk in Hyde

A Hyde builder who illegally carried out gas work at two homes in the town has appeared in court after putting the lives of two families at risk.

Monwar Ali, 40, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found he had left a boiler at a house on Norbury Avenue in a condition classified as immediately dangerous.

A total of eight defects were also found with a boiler he installed on Harbour Farm Road. Both installations left the families living in the houses, which included young children, at risk of suffering carbon monoxide poisoning.

Manchester Crown Court heard that Mr Ali had been paid £21,000 to carry out a loft conversion at a house on Norbury Avenue in 2011.

As part of this work he removed the flue pipe connected to the boiler, despite not being qualified or registered to do this. He failed to replace the pipe for nearly two months, which meant fumes spilled back into the house.

When a gas engineer visited the property to carry out a routine annual check of the boiler in August 2011, he classified it as being immediately dangerous due to a high carbon monoxide reading and an incorrect flue pipe being used. The homeowners had to get the boiler relocated downstairs with new pipework at an additional cost to them of nearly £500.

The HSE investigation found Mr Ali had also built a two-floor extension to a house on Harbour Farm Road during the same year. The written quote he provided for the work included the Gas Safe Register logo, wrongly giving the customer the impression he was able to carry out gas work.

Mr Ali was paid nearly £50,000 and moved the gas boiler on two occasions – first from the outhouse into the existing kitchen and then into the new kitchen in the extension. He also attempted to carry out repairs to the boiler in July 2011 when it broke down.

Monwar Ali received a community order requiring him to carry out 220 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months after pleading guilty to six breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 between 28 December 2010 and 31 August 2011. Mr Ali, of Syddall Street in Hyde, was also ordered to pay £2,000 towards prosecution costs during the hearing on 13 June 2014.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Ian Betley said:

“Monwar Ali put the lives of two families at risk by working on gas boilers at two properties without the appropriate training and without being registered to work with gas.

“One of the boilers was found to be immediately dangerous and it’s only luck that no one was seriously harmed by carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Gas work has the potential to be extremely dangerous if it isn’t carried out by trained professionals. Mr Ali knew he wasn’t up to the job but he still took money for work he wasn’t qualified to do, putting profit before safety.”

Russell Kramer, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register, added:

“One in five of the illegal gas jobs we investigate are found to be immediately dangerous. This means that the work could lead to a gas leak, fire, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning.

“It is vital therefore that people always make sure they only use a registered gas engineer. Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries a Gas Safe ID card, which shows who they are and the type of gas work they are qualified to do, so you can check if your engineer is legal and safe by asking for the card.”

Homeowners can check a gas fitter is a member of the Gas Safe Register by asking for their card, calling 0800 408 5500 or link to external website.