Hertfordshire gas installer jailed for nine months for illegal work

Published:  31 July, 2015

A gas installer has been jailed after carrying out dangerous and illegal work at two homes in Hertfordshire.

Shane Wyatt, of Buntingford, trading as S & J Plumbing and Heating, carried out work on gas appliances at homes in Buntingford and Baldock, leaving fittings in an unsafe state in both cases. Some of the work was carried out after Mr Wyatt’s Gas Safe registration had expired, in clear breach of gas safety laws.

The gas boiler installation at the home on High Street, Buntingford, was inspected by another gas engineer who identified that the gas supply had not been correctly isolated, and that an unvented cylinder was also incorrectly installed. There were also several gas leaks along the installation.

The work carried out on a gas fire and water pump at Hillside Park, Baldock was also found to be dangerous. It was never completed and Mr Wyatt disappeared after having been paid in cash, leaving the householders with radiators and a hot water system that did not work properly and a gas fire with a partially blocked flue.

When British Gas later inspected the installation, it recorded carbon monoxide levels three times that considered immediately dangerous and condemned the gas fire.

St Albans Crown Court heard on 30 July that Mr Wyatt had not fitted the appropriate parts to the different appliances he had worked on, and had failed to do the appropriate checks after he carried out the work. This left the householders at risk both of a gas explosion and of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Shane Wyatt, of Brookside, Chipping, Buntingford was sentenced to nine months in prison after pleading guilty to breaching two counts of s3(2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and section 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998.

HSE Inspector Andrew McGill said: “People can die as a result of shoddy gas work. It is vital that only gas engineers who are qualified, trained and competent work on gas appliances and fittings. In this case, it is only a matter of luck that no one was injured, or worse. Mr Wyatt put two households and their neighbours at risk for financial gain.

“Householders should always check that engineers are registered with Gas Safe and are competent to do the work. Gas engineers must ensure they are registered, and HSE will not hesitate to prosecute those who work illegally and put the public at risk.”

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: “Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries a Gas Safe ID card, which shows who they are and the type of gas appliances they are qualified to work on.

“We always encourage the public to ask for and check the card and if they have any concerns about the safety of work carried out in their home to speak to us. Every year we investigate thousands of reports of illegal gas work.”

Image courtesy of Shutterstock/ Yury Stroykin