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Cowboy gas man fined £5,000 after fire installation

March 18 2014

A Rotherham man has been fined £5,000 after carrying out illegal gas work and putting a family with a young boy at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning or explosion.

Thomas Atkinson, from Wickersley, pretended to be officially registered with Gas Safe Register, showing the homeowner a false ID card before installing a gas fire, and then providing an invalid gas safety certificate.

Rotherham Magistrates was told on 13th March that the Herringthorpe resident developed suspicions about the certificate and contacted Gas Safe Register, which confirmed it was false and sent one of their regional team to investigate.

The Gas Safe regional investigations officer found seven defects with the gas fire installation work, including two that were classed as ‘immediately dangerous’.

The case was passed to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which prosecuted Atkinson for five offences under the Gas Safety regulations.

The court was told Atkinson had installed a new gas fire on 12th May last year for the family in Herringthorpe but had to be chased for a gas safety certificate.

When it did arrive, it was in the name of Atkinson’s former employer.

HSE found Atkinson had been registered under the firm’s name with Gas Safe, but had been removed in January 2012.

He was not registered as a qualified gas engineer in his own name at the time of the fire installation – and never had been.

Two of the defects found with the work had the potential to cause carbon monoxide poisoning, a fire or explosion. A gas leak was traced to the inlet of the gas fire and gases produced on combustion were escaping from a part of the installation.

Thomas Atkinson, of Radley Avenue, Wickersley, Rotherham, was also ordered to pay £352 in costs after admitting breaching several regulations of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Mark Welsh said: “The incident was preventable because Atkinson should not have carried out the work in the first place.

“From his previous experience he would have been perfectly aware that registration with Gas Safe is a pre-requisite to being able to undertake gas work legally yet he went ahead with the job and then deliberately falsified a gas safety certificate.

“Illegal gas work is still a common occurrence and has the very real potential to lead to ill-health, injury or even fatality. Anyone wanting gas work done should make sure they employ a registered Gas Safe engineer.”

If you have suffered a personal injury caused by a faulty or dangerous product, contact PM Law’s team of personal injury specialists on 0114 2965444.