Plumbers incompetence exposed homeowner to serious risk

A self-employed plumber has been handed a suspended prison sentence after posing as a qualified gas engineer and endangering the lives of the homeowner.

Mark Dixon of Royston, charged £1,200 to fit a new boiler at the property in Barnsley.  After several failed attempts to get the boiler working properly the homeowner reported the issue to the Gas Safety Register in January 2011.

Upon inspection, independent gas experts brandished the boiler an “immediate danger”.

Dixon pleaded guilty to four charges under the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998.  He was handed a four month prison sentence, suspended for two years.  Dixon must also complete 180 hours community service and pay £1,200 to the homeowner involved.

Carol Downes, a HSE inspector speaking after the hearing said that unregistered installers exposed people to unacceptable risks that can easily prove fatal.

“Mr Dixon pretended to be Gas Safe registered and was happy to take the homeowner’s money, disregarding the serious harm and injury he could have caused.  Any business or sole trader who carries out work on any gas appliance without being properly trained and registered is breaking the law and (the) HSE will not hesitate to prosecute,” she said.

It is thought that around 20 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by poorly installed, maintained or ventilated gas appliances, with many more falling seriously ill.

For more information on gas safety visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.

By Richard Wilson.