Tradesman jailed for illegal Milton Keynes gas work

A Buckinghamshire tradesman has been jailed for nine months for illegally carrying out sub-standard gas work at a Milton Keynes home.

Chris Johnson, of Milton Keynes, installed a boiler at a property on Armourer Drive that was dangerously defective because it was not properly connected to a flue.

The heating fitter was prosecuted today (19 July) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after undertaking the installation without being accredited to the Gas Safe Register – a legal requirement for anyone undertaking gas work of this nature.

Amersham Crown Court heard that concerns were raised about the quality of Mr Johnson’s work when the householder returned home from work in July to find the boiler wasn’t working.

Gas Safe and HSE inspectors subsequently visited the property on 20 July 2012 and identified a fault with the flue connection, classing the boiler as unsafe.

The court was told that carbon monoxide fumes could have seeped into the home instead of escaping through the flue, and that this could have had devastating consequences.

An investigation established that Mr Johnson was not registered with Gas Safe and had worked illegally as well as unsafely.

Chris Johnson, of Bogart Place, Oxley Park, Milton Keynes, received full, concurrent custodial sentences of nine, eight, six and six months after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and three separate breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was also ordered to pay in £2,480 in compensation to the householder.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Graham Tompkins said:

“Chris Johnson installed a gas boiler and gas pipework knowing he was not competent or legally allowed to do so.

“People die from carbon monoxide poisoning because gas appliances and flues have not been properly installed, maintained or because they are poorly ventilated. Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can also cause gas leaks, fires, explosions.

“Homeowners, landlords and tenants should always request ID and check their engineer is properly accredited.”

Russell Kramer 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. Every year we investigate thousands of reports of illegal gas work. Call us on 0800 408 5500 or visit our website at link to external website.”