The trade body representing the UK’s liquefied petroleum (LP) gas industry, UKLPG, is warning budding artists and home renovators against cutting up old gas cylinders for their projects.
Following a number of recent police interventions throughout the UK it is concerned that individuals may be risking their lives, as converting gas cylinders in this way can be highly dangerous.
UKLPG chief excutive Rob Shuttleworth said: “LP gas cylinders are portable, convenient and have a very good safety record, which is why they are used so widely in the UK to provide much needed heat and power.
“However, the isolated incidents of individuals irresponsibly selling, scrapping or converting these cylinders, thus risking life-changing injuries or even death, should be a warning to everyone.”
LP gas cylinders are safe when used correctly, in accordance with the manufacturer safety instructions. However, LP gas is a highly combustible fuel and can explode if handled irresponsibly. If a cylinder appears empty, residue gas can still be ignited by sparks caused by cutting the metal.
As well as the safety implications, tampering with cylinders or attempting to change their use is an unlawful offence that may result in legal action being taken against the perpetrator.
Throughout the duration of their lives, gas cylinders remain the property of the gas cylinder company and should always be returned.
Part of the British Transport Police, the National Metal Theft Fusion Intelligence Unit is working with the LP gas industry to trace the dangerous and illegal use of gas cylinders.
Detective inspector Darren Gough said: “It is important that people recognise the cutting up, scrapping or selling of gas cylinders is illegal and must stop. Police officers are carrying out visits to individuals and organisations throughout the country and will seek prosecutions for handling stolen goods in the case of persistent offenders. As well as being illegal, this practice is also highly dangerous.”
Calor Gas and Flogas - two of the industry’s largest suppliers of LP gas - have backed UKLPG’s call for a focus on safety.
Calor Gas head of strategy and corporate affairs Paul Blacklock said: “Not only is sawing open a gas canister unlawful, it is also highly dangerous. Decommissioning a gas canister is an extremely hazardous process that should only be carried out by qualified technicians, in specialist facilities and by the bottled gas company that owns the cylinder.”