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Pensioner plumber prosecuted for illegal gas work

An 81-year-old self-employed plumber has been prosecuted for carrying out illegal work on gas boilers at houses in the Norwich area.

Frank Davey, from New Costessey, pleaded guilty at Norwich Magistrates’ Court to breaching health and safety laws.

Magistrates sentenced him to three months in jail, suspended for two years, and also banned him from working with electricity or gas for two years.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found that Mr Davey carried out gas work and fitted new gas boilers at three houses in The Columbine, Mountfield Avenue and Stylman Road, all in Norwich, between 1 April and 30 November 2009.

Mr Davey was not registered with the Gas Safe Register – a legal requirement for anyone carrying out such work.  An inspection at each of the properties revealed his work was defective and dangerous. At one address a gas leak was discovered and had to be made safe.

Mr Davey admitted breaching Regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 and Section 3(2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was also ordered to pay £1,000 in costs.

HSE Inspector Anthony Brookes said: “It is illegal for an unregistered person to carry out work on a gas appliance. When unqualified workers try to bypass the law in this way they are not only putting themselves at risk of prosecution and a large fine, they are also putting their customers’ lives at risk.

“Working with gas appliances is difficult, specialised and potentially very dangerous. Only qualified and registered engineers should attempt it.

“HSE will not hesitate to prosecute those who break the law in this way.”

Gas Safe Register chief executive Paul Johnston said: “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.”