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Manchester Magistrates’ Court has handed down a 14-month custodial sentence to a rouge trader who left a young family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning after installing a new boiler without being Gas Safe Registered. Michael Algar, a self-employed gas fitter, pled guilty after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.
The court heard that Algar had been employed to install a new boiler in a domestic property. The homeowners ran a bath for their daughter and smelled gas. They contacted another gas engineer who carried out the repairs and found that the flue had not been replaced. It had a gap which allowed products of combustion to enter into the property, making the installation immediately dangerous. The engineer reported it to Gas Safe Register.
The court heard that Algar was not Gas Safe registered and has never been registered. He had received advice from HSE on previous occasions in relation to similar matters.
Speaking in court, Judge Mark Savill said: “It’s by good fortune nobody died. You are someone who thinks the rules don’t apply to them. Your work was slapdash, shoddy and committed in the home a child was living in. Your selfish criminality exposed people to risk.”
The victim, who lives with his wife and young child at the affected property, said it scares him to think what could have happened. “You just don’t know who you can trust. We never thought he wasn’t who he said he was. We didn’t realise how lucky we were to be alive until we got an expert in who told us how badly the fitting was. You see people on the news who die because of carbon monoxide poisoning but you never think it could happen to you. We’re very grateful to be alive.”
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Lisa Baile said: “The homeowners were very lucky in this case. Had they not acted as quickly as they did the consequences could have been devastating.”