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Jail for illegal gas fitter who had previous conviction

A non-registered builder has been sent to prison for nine months after he fitted a gas boiler in a home he was building – despite having been convicted of illegal gas work previously. Michael Smithers, who was self-employed and traded under the name of Bournemouth & Verwood Builders, left the boiler installation at the new-build home At Risk.

Southampton Crown Court that Mr Smithers, from Verwood, was contracted to carry out the construction of a new house in the New Forest between 2017 and June 2018, which included the installation of new gas appliances. Mr Smithers fitted a new gas boiler but the homeowner subsequently experienced problems: they contacted Gas Safe Register, whose investigations officer classified the installation as At Risk.

The HSE investigation found that Mr Smithers was not Gas Safe registered nor competent when he carried out the work. He had been convicted of illegal gas work previously in 2014.

Michael Smithers of Nightingale Close, Verwood, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 3(1) and 3 (3) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to nine months in prison and ordered to pay £2,500 in compensation and £12,529 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Nicola Pinckney said: “Mr Smithers conducted gas work while he was not competent to do so and whilst not Gas Safe registered. Given his previous conviction, this defendant should have been fully aware of what the law requires to protect the public.”

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