Truro Crown Court

Suspended jail sentences for Cornish builder and plumber

An illegal gas fitter and the builder who employed him have both received suspended prison sentences for dangerous gas work in Cornwall.

Truro Crown Court heard that plumber Michael Astin, who runs the Rock Inn, Roche, had been contracted by builder Johnathan Allen, from Rose, Cornwall, to fit an LPG boiler at a Perrenporth hotel in September 2016. After Mr Astin had installed and commissioned the boiler, he completed a commissioning document and faked a Gas Safe registration number to deceive the hotel owners.

Gas Safe Register investigations officers classified the installation as Immediately Dangerous. The subsequent HSE investigation found that Mr Astin was not registered, nor was he competent to carry out gas work. He had been warned previously by the HSE not to undertake gas work unless he was registered.

The court also heard that Mr Allen did not check that Mr Astin was Gas Safe registered.

Michael Astin of Tremodrett Road, Roche, pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to 14 months in prison, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of community work and to pay costs of £3,150.

Johnathan Allen pleaded guilty to one breach of the GSIUR. He was given a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay costs of £3,150.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Simon Jones said: “Mr Astin undertook gas work which he knew he was not registered to do. His illegal gas work was of such a poor standard that it could have killed hotel guests and staff.

“Mr Allen had control over this gas work and made no checks whatsoever to ensure that Michael Astin was registered. Such checks are simple and would have taken only a matter of minutes by checking with Gas Safe Register.”

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