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Illegal gas fitter prosecuted

A man who falsely claimed to be a registered gas engineer has been fined for illegally installing gas appliances at addresses in York.

Bennet Morley of Haxby, York, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive for five offences under Gas Safety legislation after complaints from householders.

York Magistrates Court heard Mr Morley carried out gas work while not being competent to do so. He disguised himself as a registered gas engineer by completing installation paperwork with a false identity number.

The offences involved installation of gas boilers in two properties in York in late 2008 and again in summer 2009. The work was so poor that complaints were made by householders and remedial work had to be carried out by a registered gas engineer.

Magistrates heard that Mr Morley had worked for several years with a gas installation company but had been operating as a sole trader when the offences took place. He pleaded guilty to all the offences and was fined a total of £500 with £500 toward costs. He was also referred to a debt counsellor.

HSE Inspector Julian Franklin said: “Mr Morley deliberately misled householders about his qualifications. The work he carried out put people at risk and fell well below standard. While the danger was not immediate, the customers involved did complain, allowing the HSE to investigate and take swift action.

“The HSE will not hesitate to prosecute workmen like Mr Morley who bypass or choose to ignore important safety legislation and thus put people at risk. Registration of qualified engineers with the Gas Safe Register is compulsory and is there to provide the public with confidence in the work that is carried out by gas engineers.”

Gas Safe Register chief executive Paul Johnston added: “Registered engineers have a Gas Safe Register ID with their picture on it, the date it’s valid until and, if you turn it over, it shows what gas work they are qualified to do.  If they refuse to show the card, or if you have suspicions they may not be legitimate, report them immediately to the HSE or GAS Safe Register.

“You can also nominate your property for a free gas safety inspection from Gas Safe Register if you’ve had gas work done in the last six months.”