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Gas engineer prosecuted for illegal residential work

A gas engineer from Willenhall has been prosecuted for illegally carrying out work at a house in Cannock.

Leslie Morgan, of Cedar Road, issued a gas safety certificate for an address in Cannock Road, Cannock, on 20 October 2010 after installing a boiler at the house despite not being a Gas Safe registered engineer.

The Gas Safe Register is the official compulsory registration scheme for gas engineers in Britain and it is illegal to carry out domestic gas works without registration.

Stafford Magistrates’ Court heard Mr Morgan’s original gas safety training and registration permitted him only to work for a previous company and had expired in 2006.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) wrote to him in 2008, telling him to stop work or become properly trained and registered after he was found to have carried out unregistered gas work the previous year.

However Cannock Chase District Council raised concerns about a gas safety certificate issued by Mr Morgan to the Cannock Road landlord and on further investigation HSE found the certificate was issued illegally.

Mr Morgan pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations 1998 and was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £1,900 costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Wayne Owen said: “Any business or sole trader who carries out work on any gas appliances without being on the Gas Safe Register is breaking the law. Mr Morgan knew this but continued to carry out work on a number of properties, including the house in Cannock Road.

“On average, 20 people each year die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by poorly installed, maintained or ventilated gas appliances and flues. Many more people become seriously ill and in extreme cases, prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can cause paralysis and brain damage.

“Failing to take proper precautions when installing gas appliances can also cause fires and explosions. This is why it is essential that only people who are properly registered and competent should carry out work on gas fittings.

Paul Johnston, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register, added: “With a quarter of a million gas jobs carried out every year by illegal gas fitters who don’t have the skills or the qualifications to work safely on gas, it’s vital that householders always check that the engineer they use is on the Gas Safe Register, or they could be putting their lives and pocket at risk.

“Registration is essential to ensure that only competent people are authorised to carry out gas work. The Gas Safe Register sets specific requirements to protect people, including that evidence of competence must be less than five years old.”