England

Firm fined £10,000 for gas faults in Poole and Reading

A heating firm has been fined £10,000 after faulty gas installations were discovered in more than 300 properties across Dorset and Berkshire.

DSI Plumbing and Heating Ltd of Hampshire was also ordered to pay £1,000 costs at Bournemouth Crown Court after admitting two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Faults were found at 309 properties in Poole and 40 flats in Reading.

Homes in Harbour Reach, Poole, were evacuated following a gas leak in 2009.

The court heard that a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that between 2005 and 2007 flues and gas supply pipes had not been properly fitted in the new development.

Two self-employed men who worked for the company, Robert Percival, 49, of Legion Road, Poole, and Andrew Church, 42, of Ensign Drive, Gosport, both pleaded guilty to a single breach of the same legislation.

Percival admitted commissioning a gas installation at one property between June 2007 and April 2008 and Church admitted making false entries into documents, which he completed without carrying out the required checks between January 2006 and March 2007.

They were both given a two year conditional discharge and were each ordered to pay costs of £250.

'Serious failings'

HSE's head of operations, Harvey Wild said the faults, found in more than 90% of Harbour Reach and two thirds of the Caversham Road development, were only discovered after residents complained about ill-health.

He called the breaches "serious failings" after the sentencing and said: "It is fortunate that in this case, no-one suffered long term ill-effects but the consequences of the faults, if left undetected, could have been fatal.

"Gas installers need to make sure flues and pipes can be properly checked and all installations are checked for safety as part of commissioning to ensure lives are not put at risk."

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