Gas fitters fined for unsafe gas work and deceiving customers

Published:  07 April, 2014

An unregistered gas fitter and his employee were fined after carrying out illegal gas work and leaving a gas fire in a dangerous condition.

Ashley Rice, 41, who trades as Bathroom Inspirations, carried out extensive work at a house in Lipson between October and November 2012 with Gavin Bennett, also 41. It included disconnecting an old back boiler and installing a new gas central heating system.

The men were prosecuted at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on 4 April after a gas fire was found to be potentially dangerous.

The court heard that a Gas Safe Registered engineer visited the site and classed the gas fire as “at risk” as there was insufficient ventilation in the room, which could have led to a build-up of poisonous carbon monoxide.

Investigations by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that neither man was registered with Gas Safe Register and were breaking the law by carrying out any gas fitting work.

Mr Rice also displayed the Gas Safe Register logo in his shop in Stoke, Plymouth, and claimed to be a registered engineer on his website, misleading customers that he was qualified and legally registered to do the work.

HSE served a Prohibition Notice on Mr Rice requiring him to remove the Gas Safe Register references, which he failed to do.

Ashley Rice, of Gray Crescent, St Budeaux, pleaded guilty to three breaches of gas safety regulations and a single breach of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. He was fined £2,140 and ordered to pay costs of £2,500.

Gavin Bennett, of Union Street, Plymouth, pleaded guilty to a single breach of gas safety regulations and was fined £110 and ordered to pay £100 in costs.

HSE inspector Simon Jones said: “Members of the public have the right to believe and have confidence in the Gas Safe Register logo and Ashley Rice blatantly misled members of the public into believing that he was able to undertake work on gas when he had no qualifications for this at all. Even after being formally warned not to advertise as being Gas Safe registered he continued to do so in a deliberate disregard for the law.

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