Plumber sentenced following gas explosion

Published:  05 June, 2013

A Lincolnshire plumber has been prosecuted for carrying out illegal gas work after a couple suffered severe burns in a major explosion at their home.

Daniel George Hickling, trading as DGH Plumbing and Heating, was hired by the couple to reduce the height of two redundant LPG gas pipes in an old kitchen, which was being converted into a living room at their Nettleton home.

After he left the property on 21 July 2011 the couple realised the gas supply hadn’t been switched back on so the householder went to the LPG tank in the garden and reset the valve to restore the supply. A short while later the couple smelled gas and went to investigate. When the householder was trying to find the source of the leak it ignited.

Lincolnshire Crown Court heard on 24 May that the explosion was so severe it blew out nearly all the ground floor windows and two walls of the property had to be supported to prevent them from collapsing.

A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found Hickling had never been registered with Gas Safe and was not qualified or competent to carry out the work. It is believed he damaged one of the pipes while excavating part of the floor around the pipe, puncturing a hole in it.

Hickling, 39, of Main Street, Howsham, admitted breaching Regulations 3(1), 3(3) and 5(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was given an 11-month prison sentence suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £2,000.

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