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Unregistered gas work in Cornwall leads to suspended prison sentences

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A builder and a plumber, both from Cornwall, have been sentenced after arranging, undertaking and then commissioning illegal gas work and leaving it in a dangerous condition.

Truro Crown Court heard how plumber Michael Astin, who runs the Rock Inn, Roche, had been contracted by builder Johnathan Allen to undertake the installation of a Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) boiler at a hotel in Perrenporth in September 2016. After Michael Astin had installed the boiler, he completed a commissioning document and used a false Gas Safe Register number to deceive the hotel owners. The installation was later inspected by an engineer from Gas Safe Register who found it to be dangerous.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Astin was not Gas Safe registered at the time he conducted this work, had no competencies in gas work. He had previously been warned by HSE not to undertake unregistered gas work. The investigation also found that Mr Allen had failed to do any checks whatsoever to ensure Mr Astin was a member of Gas Safe Register when he instructed him to do the gas work.

Michael Astin of Tremodrett Road, Roche, pleaded guilty to three breaches of the of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998:

For a breach of Regulation 26(1), relating to dangerous gaswork, he was sentenced to 14 months in prison, suspended for two years, as well as 180 hours unpaid work

  • For a breach of Regulation 3(7), relating to falsely pretending to being a member of Gas Safe Register, he was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.
  • For a breach of Regulation 3(3), relating to unregistered gaswork, he was sentenced to a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

All sentences will run concurrently. Further he was ordered to pay costs of £3,150.

Johnathan Allen of Rose, Cornwall, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was given a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for two years and ordered to pay costs of £3,150 for control of unregistered gas work.

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 a member of Gas Safe Register. Such checks are simple and would have taken only a matter of minutes by checking the Gas Safe Register database.

“All gas work must be done by a registered Gas Safe engineer to ensure that safe and legal standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life.”

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