HSE secures convictions for illegal gas installations

Mr Hewitt posed as Jordan Rogers of Gas Heating Services Ltd when issuing gas safety certificates and a warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to attend two previous hearings.

Mr Hewitt, of ACME Plumbing and Heating Services in Burnley, was charged at Reedley Magistrates’ Court with three offences under Section 33(1)(m) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 after he supplied forged Landlords’ Gas Safety Certificates.

Dorothy Shaw, HSE Principal Inspector, said:

“Geoffrey Hewitt put lives in danger by issuing fake Landlords’ Gas Safety Certificates, despite not being qualified to know whether the gas fittings in the houses he visited were dangerous or not.

“He worked in people’s homes over several months. By producing the fake certificates, he was able to gain money from unsuspecting landlords and potentially risking poisoning homeowners with carbon monoxide.

“People should always make sure that gas fitters are registered by checking ID before allowing people to carry out work.  HSE will continue to prosecute anyone who carries out work without adequate training, or who falsely claims to be a registered gas engineer.”

In a separate case Kenneth Parry, 55, of Alma Street, Trecynon, also admitted carrying out gas work without with having his competence assessed by an accredited organisation.

Brecon Magistrates Court heard Mr Parry illegally removed a central heating boiler and installed a new combination boiler at a property in Pontwillym, Brecon in November 2008. The householder contacted Powys Trading Standards who alerted HSE.

The subsequent investigation resulted in the boiler being classified as “at risk”.  Mr Parry had not set the boiler to the correct pressure or fitted it to correctly-sized pipework.

Now HSE is warning householders to ensure that gas fitters are Gas Safe registered for the appliance they are working on.

Mr Parry pleaded guilty to one charge under Section 22 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and a further charge under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.  He was jailed for six months.

Mr Parry was jailed for four months in July 2007 for a similar breach of a prohibition notice and for carrying out gas work without proper accreditation.

HSE Inspector Hugh Emment said: “Ken Parry has never had his competence assessed and has never been a member of an accredited and approved organisation.

“This was little more than an amateur doing work that by law must be done by a professional. In this case, it was fortunate that the householder recognised the shoddy standard of work and contacted Trading Standards.

“HSE cannot stress enough the need for gas fitters to be Gas Safe registered and working only on appliances on which they been trained to deal with.

“Mr Parry has repeatedly ignored the legal requirement for gas work to be carried out by competent personnel, and his imprisonment should serve as a warning to others who may be undertaking unauthorised gas work – they are putting their customers’ lives – and their own liberty – at risk.”

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