Unregistered gas fitter prosecuted for dangerous boiler installation

A Bridgwater man has been prosecuted for illegal and unsafe gas work while falsely claiming to be on the Gas Safe Register.

Robert Squire, from Puriton, appeared before Taunton Magistrates’ Court on 1 May and pleaded guilty to three offences in relation to the installation of a gas boiler at an address on St Michael’s Road, Burnham in October 2010. He appeared in court again today (24 May) for sentencing. On completion of the work, Squire provided the householder with an invoice and a boiler commissioning certificate which included a Gas Safe registration number.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which brought the prosecution, established that Squire claimed to be qualified to carry out work on gas appliances, but wasn’t registered with Gas Safe – a legal requirement for anyone undertaking such work.

In February 2012, plumbers working at the property reported that the boiler appeared to be unsafe. The householder then contacted Gas Safe Register to see if the installer of the boiler was registered with them.  He discovered the Gas Safe registration number Squire had given him belonged to a different registered gas engineer.

Magistrates heard that when an investigator from Gas Safe Register went to the address in March 2012 he discovered 14 defects to the way in which the gas boiler had been installed. He found one defect which constituted a danger to life or property and had to be rectified immediately.  He also found a further three defects which related to non-compliance with building regulations.

Robert Squire of Hillside Crescent, Puriton near Bridgwater, pleaded guilty to breaching sections 3(1), 3(3) and 3(7) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was given a 12 month community order which includes supervision for six months, specified activity for 10 days and unpaid work for 150 hours. Mr Squire was also ordered to contribute towards costs of up to £2,000, in monthly installments of £100.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Leo Diez said:

“Squire fraudulently presented himself as a registered and competent gas engineer, leaving a boiler in a dangerous condition. Gas Safe Register exists to protect the public from people like Robert Squire who are prepared to work illegally, carrying out potentially dangerous gas work which they are not competent to do. Incorrectly fitted gas appliances, like this one, can be highly dangerous and can lead to loss of life.

“Those who undertake gas work must be on the Gas Safe Register.  Anyone who works on gas appliances without being registered is breaking the law. Robert Squire knew this and falsely claimed to be Gas Safe registered, yet he clearly wasn’t competent, as his unsafe handiwork testified.

“This case highlights the need for householders to check the credentials of anyone working at their property, especially where gas is involved.”

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

“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. One in five of the illegal gas jobs we investigate are found to be immediately dangerous, as was the case in this instance. It is therefore vital 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 work they are qualified to do. You can check if your engineer is legal and safe by asking for the card and if you have any concerns, contact us by calling 0800 408 5500 or visit our website at www.gassaferegister.co.uk link to external website