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Builder in court over illegal gas work

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

David Liptrott, 54, from Stonham, near 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.

Ipswich Crown 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.co.uk, 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 HSE and Trading Standards found that in addition to the unsafe gas work there was evidence of unsafe and dangerous electrical work.

Mr Liptrott was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment, suspended for 15 months and ordered to pay costs of £16,000 after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act, and one breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Mr Liptrott was also ordered to pay his victims £27,490 compensation within a period of 12 months or face a default sentence of 15 months imprisonment.

HSE inspector Anthony Brookes said: “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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