Householder left in danger when gas fitter left gas supply pipe open and uncapped after illegally removing a boiler
Keith Vickerstaff, a self-employed builder, was given the prison sentence and community service after leaving the householder in danger when he left a gas supply pipe open and uncapped after illegally removing a boiler as part of a central heating installation project.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident on found that he was not Gas Safe registered and was not qualified to carry out any works involving the removal or installation of gas appliances. It was revealed that Vickerstaff had been reported to Gas Safe’s predecessor, CORGI, in 2007 for a similar offence of carrying out unregistered gas work.
Ipswich Crown Court heard that Vickerstaff removed a gas boiler and left an open ended, uncapped, gas supply pipe. It was later classed as ‘immediately dangerous’ by a Gas Safe investigator, who checked the work after Vickerstaff abandoned the job, despite taking a considerable deposit for installing full central heating.
Keith Vickerstaff, from Kesgrave, Ipswich was given a six months prison sentence suspended for 18 months and 180 hours of unpaid community work after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
“It is sheer luck that nobody was injured as a result of Vickerstaff’s shoddy and illegal work,” declared Anthony Brookes, HSE Inspector, after the case and verdict. “His actions endangered householders and their neighbours and put them at serious risk of injury and even potentially death.”
Mr Brookes went on to accuse Vickerstaff of taking money for work that he was not competent to do and “left the occupants of the house thousands of pounds out of pocket and with an extremely dangerous gas supply that could have caused a fire or explosion at any time”.
Caption The guilty fitter, Vickerstaff, was not Gas Safety registered (unlike the installer pictured) and was breaking the law, receiving a suspended prison sentence.