Rogue gas fitter jailed

AN UNREGISTERED gas fitter has been jailed after carrying out work at more than 85 homes across South Yorkshire and Worksop that left families and children at risk.

Steven Carter (49), of Wood View, Maltby, appeared before Doncaster Magistrates for sentencing  on three charges under the Gas Safety regulations for work carried out for two landlords at 85 properties in Rotherham, Doncaster and Worksop between April 2010 and March 2011.

District Judge Jonathan Bennett locked him up for 16 weeks, telling him he was guilty of “a reckless breach of the law”.

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The judge added: “It is by good fortune that there has not been any serious injury or ill health as a result of the offences.

“However, there has been the potential for serious harm to the tenants in the houses where you worked.

“You were an experienced gas fitter working without registration for 11 months on numerous properties.

“In two houses the work was dangerous and people were at risk.

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“Considerable steps have had to be taken to remedy your work."

The Health and Safety Executive working with Gas Safe Register investigators, found a series of defects had been left by Carter when carrying out work on gas boilers, fires and cookers.

Some were identified as “immediately dangerous”', indicating there was a risk to tenants of injury or even death from exposure to carbon monoxide or an explosion.

Carter also claimed to have successfully carried out various safety tests on appliances when in fact it was not actually possible or required to test that particular appliance.

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He had failed to renew his registration with Gas Safe, which had expired in 2010.

The court was told that Carter had been employed by two landlords, both of whom were unaware that his Gas Safe registration was invalid.

The HSE cited examples of dangerous or defective work found in several properties, including one in William Street, Rotherham.

Carter admitted three breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998.

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HSE Inspector Mark Welsh said: “I hope the sentence sends a strong message to illegal gas fitters that HSE will take enforcement action in such cases.

“It is pure good luck that a more serious incident had not occurred before the level of poor and dangerous workmanship was identified.

“Gas work should only be undertaken by someone qualified and competent to do so.”