Unregistered gas engineer left householders in danger

An illegal gas engineer lied to a householder about being registered to the industry body and left one property at risk of explosion after carrying out work at premises in Cheltenham.

Cheltenham Magistrates Court heard Christopher Clark, 39, a self-employed gas engineer, commissioned a central heating system at a residential property in Upper Norwood Road at some time between 1 December 2010 and 28 February 2011.

During the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution, the court was told Mr Clark was not registered with Gas Safe Register, the official gas registration body as his registration had expired at the beginning of 2010, and therefore could not legally carry out the work.

After completing the work, Mr Clark said he would return with the necessary paperwork. However, when the resident noticed a gas leak and tried to call him to return and fix the leak and provide paperwork, he could not be contacted.

The householder then contacted Gas Safe Register, who visited the property to check the work. A leak was discovered at the boiler connection and the supply needed to be disconnected and a registered engineer carried out remedial work to fix the problem.

The HSE investigation, discovered Mr Clark had also carried out work for the same client (the owner of both properties) at another property in the town, on Fairfield Avenue, on 29 July 2010 while falsely claiming to be Gas Safe Registered.

Dominic Goacher, who brought the HSE investigation, said:

“Mr Clark put the resident at Upper Norwood Road at grave risk of a gas explosion. Thanks to the resident’s vigilance, this risk was averted, but it could easily have become a fatal incident.

“Because of the high risks involved in gas work, it must be carried out by a competent engineer who is registered with Gas Safe Register. What’s more, by falsely claiming at the property in Fairfield Avenue that he was still registered, Mr Clark was breaking the law.”

Christopher Clark, of Withybridge Gardens, Boddington, Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to breaching regulations 3(3) and 3(7) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and was fined £16,000 with £800 costs.

Workers undertaking gas installation and maintenance work must be registered with Gas Safe Register. This new gas registration scheme came into force on 1 April 2009, replacing the CORGI statutory registration scheme. Further information about the gas registration scheme is available at: http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/about.aspx link to external website[1]