Prison for Leeds plumber whose dangerous gas work put elderly woman at risk

A Leeds plumber has been jailed for 16 months after carrying out illegal and dangerous gas work, despite having been sent to prison previously for similar offences.

Leeds Crown Court heard that Christopher Roland Shaw, also known as Chris Parker and trading as SOS Express Plumbing, attended the elderly woman’s home on Newport Road, Headingley, Leeds, between 9 and 15 October 2019, where he was hired to carry out gas work. Mr Shaw had been assisting the woman with general plumbing needs for a number of years and told her that he fitted the water heater in her bathroom.

The 81-year-old woman believed that Mr Shaw was qualified to work on gas appliances and asked him to remove the gas boiler and fit a new combi at a cost of £1,157. Mr Shaw had never been registered. Gas Safe Register investigated the work he had carried out at his customer’s house and found several issues, some of which were At Risk.

The chimney/flue was not supported adequately as cardboard had been used for this purpose both inside and outside. Nor was it adequately sealed to the structure of the building. No pipework had been connected to the pressure-relief safety valve.

A further four issues were identified and three instances of non-compliance with the relevant Building Regulations.

Mr Shaw had already been banned from carrying out gas work by HSE and had been investigated and prosecuted for similar illegal gas work previously, resulting in a prison sentence in 2014.

Christopher Roland Shaw, of Stonegate Farm Close, Leeds, Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Section 33(1)(g) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulations 3(1) and 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

HSE inspector Darian Dundas said: “Whilst checks could have been made with Gas Safe Register to identify whether Mr Shaw was registered and competent to carry out the gas works prior to any work being undertaken, Mr Shaw knew that he was not allowed to do this work.”

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