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Builder fined after illegal boiler replacement

A Suffolk builder has been fined after carrying out illegal and dangerous gas work at a home in Ringshall.

David Liptrott, of Greem Lane, Stonham, Stowmarket, was hired to extend a kitchen and replace an LPG-fired boiler at a house in Charles Tye, near Ringshall, in August 2013.

He undertook the work even though he was not registered with the Gas Safe Register – as the law requires – or competent to do so.

Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court heard on 7 July that when the contract for the work was agreed, Mr Liptrott claimed to be trading as a limited company, DPB Building Services, when, in fact, this company had been dissolved in December 2012.

As a part of the building work, Mr Liptrott removed the old boiler and fitted a new boiler assisted by his son.

The homeowners became concerned by the poor standard of work and safety of the new boiler and raised complaints with Trading Standards officers as well as with Gas Safe Register.

The boiler was examined by an investigator from Gas Safe Register and found to be leaking gas. It was classified as “Immediately Dangerous” and numerous other “At Risk” faults were also recorded.

Further investigations by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and Trading Standards found that in addition to the unsafe gas work there was evidence of unsafe and dangerous electrical work.

The court heard that in 2008, trading as D Liptrott & Sons, Mr Liptrott had also been the subject of a Corgi report and received a written warning from the HSE for carrying out unregistered gas work at an address in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

Mr Liptrott was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 15 months.

He was ordered to pay his victims compensation of £27,490. If he fails to pay this order within 12 months he will be jailed for 15 months.

He was also ordered to pay £16,000 in costs after being found guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, one breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act, and three breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

After the case, HSE inspector Anthony Brookes said: “Having been previouslybeen warned about undertaking gas work when unregistered, Mr Liptrott should have known better than to accept a job he was not qualified, competent or legally allowed to do.

“People can die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and gas explosions. It is therefore vital that only registered gas engineers, who are trained and competent, work on gas appliances and fittings.

“This prosecution shows the willingness of enforcement agencies to work together to bring unscrupulous traders that put safety at risk to justice.”

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