Gas fitter given suspended prison sentence for carrying out repeated illegal and dangerous gas work at homes and businesses in Norfolk
Terry Arnold, 49, from Thetford, continued to work on gas appliances in clear breach of an enforcement notice and despite being suspended from the Gas Safe Register.
His failings came to light after food safety inspectors visited a Chinese takeaway in Swaffham in April 2012. They noted concerns about the standard of cooking appliances he had worked on at the premises, which were subsequently classed as ‘immediately dangerous’ by a Gas Safe inspector. Gas Safe informed the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which served a Prohibition Notice preventing him from undertaking any further gas work while it investigated his activities.
Norwich Crown Court heard that Arnold had issued a safety certificate for his work at the restaurant. However, his Gas Safe accreditation was invalid because he was suspended in May 2010 for failing to have his work inspected in accordance with the terms of his registration.
Despite this, and in clear contravention of the Prohibition Notice, HSE’s investigation found he continued to carry out illegal gas work at addresses in Kings Lynn and Swaffham during 2012 and 2013, despite providing a written undertaking he would not do any such work.
Arnold was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for one year, after pleading guilty to seven breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and one breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Further alleged breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 were left to lie on file. The judge commented on sentencing that it was only Mr Arnold’s medical condition – he is receiving treatment for renal cancer – that prevented an immediate prison sentence.
“Terry Arnold is a prolific offender who has continued to carry out gas work without being registered over a number of years,” explained Anthony Brookes, HSE Inspector, speaking after the verdict. “He was well aware of the registration requirements and by continuing to carry out gas work and providing Gas Safety certificates pretending to be registered over this time, had deliberately chosen to continue working in flagrant disregard for the law. People can die as a result of gas leaks. It is vital that only registered gas engineers, who are trained and competent, work on gas appliances and fittings. Registered engineers are on the Gas Safe Register.”