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Prosecutions for dangerous work in Devon

An illegal gas fitter has been given a suspended jail sentence after he pretended to be registered and carried out gas work at a rented property in Plymouth.

Plymouth Crown Court heard that Peter Knight, 67, undertook landlords’ gas safety record checks at the property above a pub on Marlborough Street, and extended the gas supply pipe to feed the pub’s kitchen, despite never having been registered.

The HSE, prosecuting, said the landlords believed he was registered to do the work because Mr Knight used the name and registration number of a Gas Safe business on the gas safety records he produced.

Mr Knight’s illegal gas work came to light when the tenant of the flat above the pub smelled gas in his flat and confronted Mr Knight about the work he had done. The tenant contacted Gas Safe Register because of his concerns about the workmanship.

Peter Knight of Cornwall Street, Plymouth, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(3) and 3(7) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £2,000 costs.

HSE inspector Simon Jones, speaking after the hearing, said: “It is fortunate no one was harmed as a result of Mr Knight’s illegal gas work. He compounded his illegal work by deceptively using false Gas Safe Register details on his paperwork and then lied to the landlords and tenant when he was challenged about this, in a clear attempt to deceive them.

“The landlords relied on the honesty of Mr Knight but, by deceiving them, he put the lives of their tenants at risk for his own financial gain.”

On the other side of Devon, a gas engineer must carry out 300 hours of community service after his work was found to be dangerous.

Torquay Magistrates heard that Stephen Barton installed a gas cooker and gas boiler at two separate properties in Dawlish and Exeter during January and May 2016. Mr Barton was not registered and Gas Safe Register classified his work as dangerous.

Stephen Barton of Park Road, Dawlish, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 and breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was sentenced to 300 hours of unpaid community work and ordered to pay £3,600 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Simon Jones said: “Stephen Barton undertook gas work which he knew he was not registered to do.”

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