Torbay plumber escapes jail despite illegal gas work

An illegal gas fitter has been prosecuted after he installed a gas boiler and left it in a “potentially dangerous state” because he did not commission it.

Mark Evans, 52, an unregistered plumber, fitted the gas boiler at a property in Torquay, after he was recommended to the homeowners by a family friend.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted Mr Evans at Torquay Magistrates on July 26, 2016 and who was sentenced at Exeter Crown Court on October 6, 2016.

HSE launched an investigation after a Gas Safe Register Inspector found substandard workmanship in the work carried out by Mr Evans and classed the installation as ‘At Risk’, which means there was a risk to life. The homeowner had contacted Gas Safe Register after they had arranged for another Gas Safe Register engineer to check on the work undertaken by Mr Evans, as they had concerns over the standard of his work.

Unbeknown to the homeowners the engineer that they had arranged to visit turned out to be the brother of Mr Evans, and who is a properly registered gas engineer. He had concerns over the boiler installation and told the homeowners to contact Gas Safe Register.

The court heard that Mr Evans had placed adverts in local Torbay publications saying that registered engineers would undertake work, but he in fact did the work himself. He left the boiler installed without commissioning it and left the homeowners with no paperwork and did not register the gas boiler with the local authority, all of which are legal requirements.
Mr Evans pleaded guilty to two breaches of gas safety regulations and was sentenced to an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years, ordered to serve 100 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £3,541 in costs.

HSE inspector, Simon Jones, speaking after the hearing, said: “Mark Evans put lives at risk by undertaking gas work which he was neither qualified nor registered to undertake.

“He knew he should not have done the work, but continued anyway blatantly disregarding the law, the law that is there to protect members of the public.

“After a gas boiler is installed it has to be immediately commissioned to ensure that it is working safely, but Mark Evans made no such check and so left the homeowners with a potentially dangerous boiler for a considerable period of time with him knowing that the boiler had not been commissioned.”