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Illegal gas fitter prosecuted for endangering lives

12-07-2012

An illegal gas fitter has been prosecuted for endangering lives by undertaking potentially lethal work at a property in Colchester.

Kevin Cook, 55, trading as Team Electric, installed a gas fire at a house in Rowhedge, Colchester, in August 2010, although he was not registered to undertake gas work and had no experience of this.

On 4 July, Colchester Magistrates' Court heard that Mr. Cook had been undertaking general building work to the property. He then installed the gas fire despite not being a Gas Safe Registered engineer, but was seen by the householders. When questioned he told them a registered engineer had put the gas pipe in and he was just assembling the fire.

A few months after installation the residents noticed the pilot light wasn't working and asked a Gas Safe Registered engineer to service the fire. He classed it immediately dangerous and disconnected the gas supply. The fire had not been installed in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions and the flue had not been connected to the fire, risking carbon monoxide poisoning and potential fatal consequences.

Mr. Cook, trading as Team Electric, now temporarily living at Waterville Mews in Colchester, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulations 3(3) and 27(1) of the Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations 1998. He was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £1,753 in costs for the Regulation 3(3) breach. No penalties were imposed for the other charges.

In addition Mr. Cook was ordered to pay compensation of £1,644 to the householders.

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