The image of a dangerous flue found at a gas installation

Jail for illegal fitter whose dangerous work was shown on BBC Watchdog

An illegal gas fitter whose dangerous work featured on BBC’s Watchdog programme has been jailed for 16 months.

An HSE investigation found that between 3 March 2018 and 22 March 2019, Richard Goldthorpe from St Helens, carried out work on gas appliances at seven addresses across England, using a fake name on one occasion. His unsafe work featured on the BBC’s Watchdog programme.

Manchester Crown Court heard that in November 2014, Mr Goldthorpe had been served with a Prohibition Notice by the HSE, which banned him from carrying out gas work unless he became Gas Safe registered.

The court was told that several defects were found on each gas appliance that Mr Goldthorpe had worked on between 2018 and 2019, including incomplete and defective flue joints, flues not sealed to building structures, and the dangerous decommissioning of a back boiler. All the defects posed safety risks for the homeowners and their families.

Richard Goldthorpe, of Irwin Road, St Helens, pleaded guilty to eight breaches of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 as amended.

However, while Mr Goldthorpe was on bail awaiting sentencing, he carried out more gas work. He subsequently pleaded guilty to two further breaches of GSIUR and HSWA. He was sent to prison for 16 months.

Speaking following the hearing, HSE inspector Anthony Banks said: “Richard Goldthorpe knowingly defrauded homeowners and purposely misled them into thinking he was registered with Gas Safe Register.

“Mr Goldthorpe had even been warned on national television that he was breaking the law. The work he did was unsafe and he put several families at risk. It is only a matter of chance that no one was seriously harmed.”

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