Plymouth plumber pleads guilty to a breach of gas safety

A plumber arranged for fraudulent gas safety checks at landlords’ tenanted properties leaving a gas boiler in a dangerous state and putting the lives of the tenants at risk.

Gary Lynch arranged for Neil Walker to undertake the landlords’ gas safety checks at tenanted properties on 14 separate occasions between February 2013 and May 2015 despite Mr Walker not being a registered gas engineer. Gas safety records produced used a false Gas Safe Register registration number and a fictitious address for Mr Walker.

Mr Lynch claimed to have met Mr Walker in a pub and instructed him to undertake the landlords’ gas safety checks for him, as the agent for the landlords, but Mr Lynch did not undertake any checks on whether Mr Walker was registered to legally undertake such work.

One gas boiler that Mr Walker passed as safe was subsequently found to be ‘Immediately Dangerous’ and was potentially leaking poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) into the tenants’ property. The tenants had been suffering from headaches and dizziness and contacted Wales and West Utilities who isolated the gas supply to the boiler and contacted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who investigated Mr Lynch’s activities.

During that investigation Mr Lynch was not able to provide any information or contact details for Mr Walker. He had previously been warned by HSE in 2014 about undertaking gaswork while not registered following previous concerns.

Mr Lynch pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for each offence suspended for 18 months and was ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.

HSE inspector, Simon Jones, speaking after the hearing, said: “ Mr Lynch’s negligence could have cost lives. All landlord’s gas safety checks must be done by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life. Mr Lynch knew this but carried on instructing an unregistered man and put the lives of tenants at serious risk from deadly CO poisoning.”

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