Lucky to be alive: NHS worker urges people to get a gas safety check

An NHS worker urging everyone to get a proper gas safety check in time for winter, after he had a lucky escape when an illegal gas worker carried out dangerous work in his house.

Anaesthetic practitioner Tony Deyn unwittingly used an unregistered gas engineer to carry out work on his Cheshire home. The Immediately Dangerous work could have caused an explosion.

Tony Deyn, 58, who works at Crewe’s Leighton Hospital, had the boiler replaced at his house in Winsford by unregistered Robert Allen, a self-employed contractor trading as A&E Property Services.

After weeks of water leaking from the boiler in his family home in Winsford, Tony called out a registered engineer, who found a series of faults – some of which could have led to a serious gas leak and explosion.

Inspection of the work found five separate serious defects, including an unsealed flue, a pressure-relief valve in the wrong place, undersized gas pipework, an uncommissioned appliance, and corrosion to the gas pipework. Crewe Magistrates’ Court heard that the defects could have led to carbon monoxide leakage, scalding, unsafe combustion and unburned gas release, which could have proved fatal.

Tony says: “I believed the engineer who replaced our boiler was qualified. Unfortunately, that was not the case. We had a series of problems so got a registered engineer out to the house, who was shocked at what he found.

“It seems we were fortunate there wasn’t a serious leak. Me, my family, even my neighbours, are lucky to be alive.

“I know the cost of living is going through the roof right now, but this is one area you can’t afford to cut corners on. It’s really important to get a gas check and make sure it is done by a registered engineer.”

Robert Allen, from Winsford, Cheshire, who carried out the dangerous work, was prosecuted by the HSE. HSE’s investigation found that Mr Allen had never been Gas Safe registered. He had given himself a false registration number and fraudulently used the registration number of a completely unconnected company.

He was given a 40-week suspended sentence, 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay costs of more than £5,000.

HSE recommends that homeowners get gas appliances boilers, cookers, fires, flues, and pipework serviced every year by a registered gas engineer. They will check that appliances are safe but also that they’re running efficiently, saving householders money, says HSE.

Tony Deyn adds: “What happened to us shows how things can go wrong. The work we had carried out put our lives at risk.”

Related Articles