Published on 18 - July - 2012
A Barnsley plumber has been given a suspended prison sentence after claiming to be a qualified gas engineer and badly fitting a new boiler, seriously endangering the homeowner.
Jail sentence for Barnsley plumber who bungled boiler installation
Mark Dixon, a self-employed trader from Royston, in Barnsley, charged the resident £1,200 to carry out the work but when independent gas experts investigated, the work was classed as an 'immediate danger'.
Prosecuting Mr Dixon, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), told Sheffield Crown Court that his incompetence had exposed the householder to serious risk.
The court heard that Mr Dixon carried out the installation between 9 October and 30 November 2010. The householder reported the issue to the Gas Safe Register in January 2011 after the boiler failed to work properly despite several attempts by Mr Dixon to fix it.
The Gas Safe Regional Investigations officer found the boiler's chimney had not been properly connected to the flue. Mr Dixon had pushed plastic insulation material down a separation gap to try to form a seal. This was deemed immediately dangerous as the material would melt when temperatures rose, causing fumes to enter the roof space.
Mr Dixon pleaded guilty to four charges under the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years, plus 180 hours' community service. A compensation order totalling £1,200 for the householders involved was also made.
Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Carol Downes said: "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 HSE will not hesitate to prosecute."
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