Plumbers fined for fraudulent and unsafe gas work

Published:  12 February, 2015

One plumber has received a community service order and another has been fined over illegal gas work that put the lives of patrons and staff at a Sawbridgeworth hotel in danger.

James Outtridge was asked by the landlord of The Railway Hotel to install a gas-fired hot water boiler in November 2013, Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard on 10 February.

He arranged for the boiler to be installed by Scott Wilson, regardless of the fact that he was not registered with Gas Safe to carry out private gas work.

The pair were prosecuted after a later investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the boiler to have been left ‘At Risk’.

Following a Food Hygiene inspection by an Environmental Health Officer (EHO), Mr Outtridge was asked to arrange for gas safety checks to be carried out on the gas appliances at the hotel.

Mr Outtridge again failed to use a Gas Safe registered engineer and the landlord was supplied with a fraudulent report reassuring him that his appliances were safe to use.

When the report was found by the EHO to be fraudulent, Mr Outtridge arranged for Scott Wilson to repeat the safety checks, even though he was still unregistered.

James Outtridge of Epping, Essex, was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid community service, and was ordered to pay costs of £1,300 and a £60 victim surcharge for three breaches of Regulation 4 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Scott Wilson of Hertford, Hertfordshire, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £611 in costs plus a £120 victim surcharge for breaches of Regulation 3(1) and Regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

HSE inspector Sue Matthews said: “People can die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, and, by their negligence, James Outtridge and Scott Wilson could have caused the illness or death of the owner and employees at this hotel.

“The purpose of the Gas Safe Register is to protect the public from gas work being carried out by people who have not been trained and are not competent. On several occasions Mr Outtridge used persons including Mr Wilson, who were not registered and had not been assessed as competent by Gas Safe Register. Their actions endangered members of the public, putting them at serious risk of injury and even potentially death.”