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Hertfordshire builder in court over illegal gas work

A self-employed builder from East Barnet has been fined after he installed a wall-mounted gas boiler and associated pipework at a home in Clacton-on-Sea, despite not being Gas Safe registered.

Jason Sapsford, trading at the time as New Look Builders, of Woodfield Drive, East Barnet, Hertfordshire, was prosecuted after inspections carried out by both British Gas and Gas Safe classified the installation as being “at risk”, indicating that the system, in its current state, had the potential to put both life and property at risk.

Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Sapsford was contracted to remove a gas boiler from the premises on Wyndham Crescent, Clacton-on-Sea, and install a wall-mounted gas boiler in its place.

Iimmediately following installation, however, the system repeatedly broke down. The householder was left with holes to an exterior wall, no room-control thermostat and other electrical faults.

Furthermore, a user manual was not supplied, and during the course of the installation Mr Sapsford stripped the premises of its copper pipe-work, replacing it with plastic piping that was badly fitted, inappropriate for its intended use and that subsequently leaked.

The householder was faced with costs of around £2,500 to replace the pipework and install a room thermostat.

Mr Sapsford was fined a total of £2,000, ordered to pay costs of £2,252 and victim compensation of £2,285 after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

After the case, Health and Safety Executive inspector Paul Grover said: “This gas work was carried out by an unregistered and incompetent individual who was prepared to put life and property at risk for the sake of quick profit.

“People can die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Mr Sapsford’s actions were callous and uncaring and he showed little or no concern for the difficulties experienced by the householders, or the danger his handiwork presented to the general public.”

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