Illegal gas fitter put lives in danger in Rochdale

A Rochdale man has been sentenced after he put lives at risk by illegally carrying out gas work at three homes in the borough.

Paul Gregory was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after he left a newly installed gas hob in a condition classified as ‘immediately dangerous’ at one house on Holmes Street in Rochdale.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard today (14 September) that Mr Gregory had installed a new boiler and gas hob at the property during a four-month period last year, despite not being a registered gas fitter.

Shortly after the installation had been completed, the owner of the house contacted National Grid to get the gas meter changed from a pay-as-you-go to a conventional meter.

While at the property, a National Grid engineer spotted several problems with the gas work carried out by Mr Gregory and found the gas hob to be in a dangerous condition. He immediately capped off the supply to the hob.

The court was told Mr Gregory had also carried out gas safety checks for a landlord at properties on Garden Street in Milnrow and Hendriff Place in Rochdale on 21 March 2011.

He used a fake Gas Safe Register number when completing the formal documents on the checks, giving the impression they met strict legal requirements.

Paul Gregory, of Hollin Lane in Middleton, pleaded guilty to five breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He received a community order requiring him to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work in the next 12 months, and was ordered to pay £2,279 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Philip Strickland said:

“Paul Gregory put lives at risk at three properties in Rochdale by falsely claiming he was registered to carry out gas work.

“Landlords rely on annual gas safety checks to make sure their properties are safe, but the checks Mr Gregory completed were worthless. He also left the gas hob at one house in a dangerous condition, and it is only luck that no one was injured as a result.

“Gas work has the potential to cost lives if it is not carried out by qualified gas fitters. We will therefore continue to prosecute anyone who ignores the law.”

Paul Johnston, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register, added:

“A quarter of a million illegal gas jobs are carried out every year by people who don’t have the skills or the qualifications to work safely with gas.

“It’s therefore vital that people always make sure the person working on their gas appliances is on the Gas Safe Register. If they don’t, they could be putting their family’s lives and homes at risk from gas fires, explosions, leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning.

“You can check if your engineer is legal and safe to work with gas by asking for the Gas Safe ID card. You can also check the engineer’s identification number by calling us on 0800 408 5500, or visiting the website at link to external website.”