Unregistered fitter sentenced for string of gas offences

A gas fitter has been given a suspended prison sentence for carrying out repeated illegal and dangerous gas work at homes and businesses in Norfolk.

Terry Arnold, 49, from Thetford, continued to work on gas appliances in clear breach of an enforcement notice and despite being suspended from the Gas Safe Register.

His failings came to light after food safety inspectors visited a Chinese take-away in Swaffham in April 2012. They noted concerns about the standard of cooking appliances he had worked on at the premises, which were subsequently classed as ‘immediately dangerous’ by a Gas Safe inspector.

Gas Safe informed the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which served a Prohibition Notice preventing him from undertaking any further gas work while it investigated his activities.

Norwich Crown Court heard today (29 July) that Mr Arnold had issued a safety certificate for his work at the restaurant. However, his Gas Safe accreditation was invalid because he was suspended in May 2010 for failing to have his work inspected in accordance with the terms of his registration.

Despite this, and in clear contravention of the Prohibition Notice, HSE’s investigation found he continued to carry out illegal gas work at addresses in Kings Lynn and Swaffham during 2012 and 2013, despite providing a written undertaking he would not do any such work.

Terry Arnold, of Priory Drove, Great Cressingham, Thetford, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for one year, after pleading guilty to seven breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and one breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.  Further alleged breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 were left to lie on file. The judge commented on sentencing that it was only Mr Arnold’s medical condition – he is receiving treatment for renal cancer – that prevented an immediate prison sentence.

After the case, HSE Inspector Anthony Brookes said:

“Terry Arnold is a prolific offender who has continued to carry out gas work without being registered over a number of years.  He was well aware of the registration requirements; and by continuing to carry out gas work and providing Gas Safety certificates pretending to be registered over this time; had deliberately chosen to continue working in flagrant disregard for the law.

“He has compounded this offending and displayed utter contempt by continuing his illegal activities despite the service of Prohibition Notices on him by HSE and acted contrary to a written undertaken he had given not to carry out further gas work.

“People can die as a result of gas leaks. It is vital that only registered gas engineers, who are trained and competent, work on gas appliances and fittings. Registered engineers are on the Gas Safe Register.”

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 www.gassaferegister.co.uk.”

Further information about gas safety can be found online atwww.hse.gov.uk/gas