BREAKING NEWS: Illegal gas-fitter fined for putting lives at risk

AN UNREGISTERED gas fitter has been prosecuted for putting lives at risk by illegally carrying out work on a house in Hucknall.

Nottingham Magistrates Court heard that Robert Metcalf (54) installed a new gas boiler at the property on Long Hill Rise during August and September 2009.

But after problems with the new boiler, the customer contacted the Gas Safe Register to check his status.

It was discovered that Metcalf was not registered and should not have attempted to undertake such a job. The matter was passed to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for investigation.

HSE found there were a number of defects on the boiler. There was a lack of earth bonding, the pipework sleeve was not sealed where it passed through the wall and the flue was not sealed on the inside or outside of the building.

In addition, the pressure-relief discharge pipe was sited above a doorway onto a walkway, which could have resulted in hot water being thrown out onto residents.

Metcalf (trading as Metcalf Plumbing), of Valeside Gardens, Colwick, Nottingham, pleaded guilty the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and was fined £500 with costs of £200.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector David Butter said: “At the time of carrying out the work, Metcalf was not registered with Gas Safe, and some of the work carried out put residents at risk.

“In order to work legally in the UK, gas installers must be registered with the appropriate approved body. It is essential that homes and businesses check this before having work carried out to ensure the job is completed to a high standard and most of all, is safe.

“Badly-fitted and poorly-serviced gas appliances can cause fires, explosions, gas leaks and carbon-monoxide poisoning.

“Our message to everyone is clear — check the engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card before letting them begin work and check the details online or by calling 0800 408 5500.”