North East Wales

Jailed Denbighshire gas fitter 'put life at risk'

A gas fitter has been jailed for eight months after his work was found to have put a customer's life at risk.

Lee Hampshire, 30, from Prestatyn, Denbighshire, pretended he was registered to fit a new gas boiler at a house in Rhyl, a court heard.

But he had been banned from working with gas due to a previous dangerous installation.

Hampshire admitted a breach of the gas safety and use regulations at Mold Crown Court, sitting at Chester.

Judge Niclas Parry was told that Hampshire's customer had specifically asked if he was Corgi registered and he said he was.

But the truth was that he was not registered with the organisation or its successor, the Gas Safety Register, explained prosecutor Simon Parrington.

His customer, took his assurances at face value and paid him £300 cash to fit a new boiler at her home in August 2009.

It was immediately faulty and he said a new part was needed but when a representative of the manufacturers arrived he found it was dangerous and not fitted correctly, the court was told.

An inspector from the Gas Safe Register found that the work was of such a poor standard that the householder had been exposed to the risk of serious injury or death through carbon monoxide poisoning.

'Blatant disregard'

A number of breaches of the gas regulations were found and carbon monoxide could escape.

The court heard the defendant had been registered until 2005 and a prohibition notice had been served on him in 2008 not to do any gas work following a previous dangerous installation.

Brian Treadwell, defending, stressed his client was now employed by another gas company which did local authority work and that he was properly registered.

But Judge Parry said: "You knew that you were not fit to carry out the work and the risk of harm was high.

"The potential impact on the customer was nothing short of fatal."

He added: "It is an extremely serious matter which literally put a life at risk."

After the hearing, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector, Damian Corbett, said Hampshire showed a "blatant disregard for the law".

And Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: "We work closely with the HSE to investigate unregistered gas fitters and welcome successful prosecutions such as this."

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