Unregistered gas fitter put pensioners at risk

A former Gas Safe registered heating engineer has been sentenced after conducting gas work he was no longer registered or competent to do and leaving it in a dangerous condition.

Exeter Crown Court heard how Scott Lowry, who previously traded as S J Lowry Plumbing and Heating, undertook the installation of a new gas boiler at a pensioner’s property in Ivybridge during September 2017. Lowry, who had used a lapsed Gas Safe number, charged the couple £2000 for the job.

The boiler was so badly fitted that it repeatedly broke down. Lowry made four or five ineffectual repairs, leading the couple to believe the boiler was faulty. They complained to the manufacturer, which dispatched a Gas Safe engineer who found the boiler to be unsafe, classing it as ‘At Risk’, and alerted the Gas Safe Register.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Mr Lowry’s membership of Gas Safe Register had expired on 19 April 2017, and after this time he was no longer registered to undertake gas work. Mr Lowry used his old Gas Safe Register number on the commissioning document supplied to the homeowners and did so knowing that this was no longer valid. The investigation also found Scott Lowry had left the gas boiler flue that he fitted in a dangerous state that allowed the gas boiler fumes to leak into the property and could have caused carbon monoxide poisoning.

Scott Lowry of Broad Street, Modbury, admitted three counts of breaching safety regulations and was sentenced to an eight month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, in Exeter Crown Court. He was also ordered to pay £500 compensation to the homeowners, £1000 costs and a £500 fine.

According to Plymouth Live, the judge in the case said: “Gas appliances can create significant hazards to life or health if not installed and maintained safely. The most serious offence here was the faulty installation of the boiler and the abject failure to put things right. In terms of harm, there was a risk of death of more than one person from your shoddy installation. There was complete disregard of the law regarding registration.

“You avoided the cost of registration so there was cost cutting at the expense of safety. The clients suffered anxiety and distress.”

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