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Plumber prosecuted for illegal gas work

A Lincolnshire plumber has been prosecuted for carrying out illegal gas work after a couple suffered severe burns in a major explosion at their home.

Mr Daniel George Hickling, 39, of Main Street, Howsham, Lincolnshire, trading as DGH Plumbing and Heating, was hired by the couple to reduce the height of two redundant LPG gas pipes in an old kitchen which was being converted into a living room at their Nettleton home.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found Mr Hickling had never been registered with Gas Safe and was not qualified or competent to carry out the work. It is believed he damaged one of the pipes while excavating part of the floor around the pipe, puncturing a hole in it.

Mr Hickling, admitted breaching Regulations 3(1), 3(3) and 5(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was given an 11-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £2,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector David Butter said: “Anybody who carries out work on gas pipes or appliances without being on the Gas Safe Register is breaking the law. It is essential that homeowners and businesses check gas installers are registered with Gas Safe before having work carried out to ensure the job is completed to the required safe standard.”

Russell Kramer, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register, added: “Our message is a simple one: Only use a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix or service your gas appliances or to do any gas work.

“Every Gas Safe registered engineer has an ID card which proves they are who they say they are. On the back of the card there is information about the types of gas work they are qualified to undertake.

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