Illegal Gas Works Put Family In Danger

Rotherham Man Prosecuted After Misleading Family

17.03.2014

A family was put in immediate danger by a man who claimed to be a qualified gas appliance fitter.

Thomas Atkinson, from Wickersley, had carried out work at a property in Herringthorpe, Rotherham, having told them he was on the Gas Safe Register.

He fitted a new gas fire in May 2013 and it soon became apparent that there were serious faults with the installation.

Gas Safe representatives identified seven defects, two of which posed an instant risk to the people who lived there, which included a young child.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed that the family could have been exposed to leaked carbon monoxide and there was also potential for an explosion.

Although Mr Atkinson had provided a gas safety certificate, the household soon realised it had been issued in the name of his former employer.

It emerged that he had once been registered under the firm's name, but was taken off in January 2012 and was never signed up as a qualified individual.

Mr Atkinson was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay £352 in costs after admitting to five breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

All Gas Safe-registered tradespeople will carry an ID card, which clearly outlines what kind of work they are allowed to undertake.

The HSE and Gas Safe have urged people to get in touch if they suspect they have employed a bogus trader to carry out work.

Following the hearing at Rotherham Magistrates' Court, HSE inspector Mark Welsh said the incident was preventable as Mr Atkinson knew from his past experience that he should not have been fitting gas fires.

"He went ahead with the job and then deliberately falsified a gas safety certificate," Mr Welsh commented.

"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."