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Ipswich gas engineer fined for illegal work

A self-employed gas engineer has been fined for carrying out unregistered work on commercial premises in Ipswich.

Duncan Frere, 37, of Wilkinson Drive, Ipswich was hired between May and June 2010 to carry out the installation and connection of a number of gas appliances at the Super Kebab House in Ipswich, and, to carry out safety checks at the Kishmish Indian Takeaway restaurant on 14 March 2011.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard that a Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Mr Frere was not trained, registered or competent to work on gas appliances on commercial catering premises.

After the sentencing, HSE Inspector Julie Rayner, said: “At the time Duncan Frere was a registered gas engineer but he was only registered and competent to work on domestic gas appliances, not in commercial catering settings.

“He is fully aware of the law and should know better than to carry out gas work in an area where he is not competent or has not been trained.

“He put the lives of the restaurants’ staff, their customers and their neighbours at risk. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute people who break the law in this way.”

Mr Frere admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 as well as Regulations 3(1) and 26(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 and was fined a total of £4,000 and ordered to pay £2,500 costs. He also had to pay a £15 victim surcharge.

Gas Safe Register chief executive Paul Johnston added: “If you’re employing an engineer to fit, fix or service gas appliances, you should always make sure that person is Gas Safe registered.

“If they say they are, don’t just take their word for it. Check they are on the Gas Safe Register and check their ID card when they arrive at your door.

“You shouldn’t take any risks, badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause fires, explosions, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning.”