Shane Wyatt, from Buntingford, trading as S & J Plumbing and Heating, carried out work on gas appliances at homes in Buntingford and Baldock, leaving the fittings in an unsafe state in both cases. Some of the work was carried out after Mr Wyatt’s Gas Safe registration had expired – in clear breach of gas safety laws.
The gas boiler installation at the home on High Street, Buntingford, was inspected by another gas engineer who identified that the gas supply had not been correctly isolated, and that an unvented cylinder was also incorrectly installed. There were also several gas leaks along the installation.
The work carried out on a gas fire and water pump at Hillside Park, Baldock was also found to be dangerous. It was in fact never completed and Mr Wyatt disappeared after having been paid in cash, leaving the householders with radiators and a hot water system that did not work properly and a gas fire with a partially blocked flu.
When British Gas later inspected the installation, they recorded carbon monoxide levels three times that considered immediately dangerous and condemned the gas fire.
St Albans Crown Court heard yesterday (31 July) that Mr Wyatt had not fitted the appropriate parts to the different appliances he had worked on, and had failed to do the appropriate checks after he carried out the work. This left the householders at risk from a gas explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Shane Wyatt, of Brookside, Chipping, Buntingford was sentenced to 9 months in prison after pleading guilty to breaching two counts of s3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and section 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
After the case, HSE Inspector Andrew McGill said: “People can die as a result of shoddy gas work. It is vital that only gas engineers who are qualified, trained and competent, work on gas appliances and fittings. In this case, it is only a matter of luck that no-one was injured or worse. Mr Wyatt put two households and their neighbours at risk for financial gain.
“Householders should always check that engineers are registered with Gas Safe and are competent to do the work. Gas engineers must ensure they are registered, and HSE will not hesitate to prosecute those who work illegally and put the public at risk.”
Jonathan Samuel, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, added: “Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries a Gas Safe ID card, which shows who they are and the type of gas appliances they are qualified to work on.
“We always encourage the public to ask for and check the card and if they have any concerns about the safety of work carried out in their home, to speak to us. Every year we investigate thousands of reports of illegal gas work. Call us on 0800 408 5500 or visit the Gas Safe Register website.”