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Community order served for illegal gas work

A Shropshire man has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for carrying out gas work at an elderly couple's home without being Gas Safe registered.
James Alexander Dunsmore installed central heating, including a gas boiler, at an address in Bridgnorth, between 25 and 29 October 2010.

The 79-year-old woman, who cares for her husband, had received Mr Dunsmore's details from a neighbour and hired him under the impression he was an approved engineer on the Gas Safe Register. It was only after the work was completed, that it was discovered he was not.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that an HSE investigation carried out with the Gas Safe Register found a number of defects in the gas system at the premises, which Mr Dunsmore had failed to spot, including no emergency shut-off lever on the meter, which meant that the gas supply could not easily be shut off in an emergency. Also the gas supply pipe was also found not to be properly sleeved at the wall entry point. In the event of a gas leak, gas would have had a route back into the main house, with the potential to cause an explosion.

Although Mr Dunsmore had not installed the meter or supply pipe, he should have spotted the problems and taken the appropriate action. Mr Dunsmore pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations 1998. The court imposed a 12-month community order, in which Mr Dunsmore must complete 120 hours' unpaid work, and he was ordered to pay £750 compensation to the householder.

HSE inspector Janice Dale said: 'Anybody who carries out work on boilers, hobs, ovens, fires or any other gas appliances without being on the Gas Safe Register is breaking the law.

'Mr Dunsmore should not have undertaken the work, and furthermore, he failed to spot a number of faults with the gas system that could have put the householders at risk. Poorly maintained, faulty or badly installed gas work can cause explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal and can also cause serious long-term health problems.'

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16 May 2011


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