A Brixham gas fitter has been fined after falsely claiming to be registered gas engineer and leaving work he carried out in a dangerous condition.
In a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) last week, Torbay Magistrates heard that Sean Collins carried out work on a gas boiler in July and August 2011 at an unoccupied house undergoing renovation in Brixham.
The court was told Collins left the flue of the boiler in a dangerous condition and also removed the gas meter and failed to reinstall it, leaving open-ended gas pipes which could have poured gas into the house.
The matter came to light when the householder could not find the meter and contacted Gas Safe Register.
Further investigations revealed that Collins falsely advertised himself as a member of Gas Safe Register and used the organisation's logo on his on-line publicity material.
Sean Collins, of Penpethy Road, Brixham, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1988 and one breach of Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.
HSE Inspector Simon Jones, speaking after the hearing, said: 'All gas engineers must be members of Gas Safe Register by law so customers can be sure they are dealing with someone who is properly trained and qualified to do the job.
'Unregistered installers who carry out gas work could expose people to unacceptable risks that can prove fatal.
'Sean Collins 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.'
Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: 'Gas work should only be carried out by a suitably qualified and competent Gas Safe registered engineer. Every registered engineer has an ID card that not only confirms they are who they say they are but also shows the kind of work they are qualified to carry out. We always encourage people to ask to see the ID card and to check the details by calling 0800 408 5500 or visiting www.gassaferegister.co.uk link to external website before allowing anyone to carry out gas work.'