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Worcester father and son prosecuted for illegal gas work

Date:
25 April 2013

A Worcester pensioner was put in danger after a local builder and his son knowingly carried out defective gas fitting work while constructing a conservatory at her home.

Christopher Amphlett, 65, and his son Mark, 37, trading as Worcester Windows, Doors and Conservatories, knew they had to manage the existing flue of the gas boiler before they began the conservatory at the property in Hillside Close, but they didn’t.

When they finished the building in Christmas 2011 they illegally inserted a plastic pipe into the original flue and extended it through the conservatory roof of the ground floor maisonette.

Worcester Magistrates’ Court heard today (25 April) that the offence only came to light when British Gas visited the property three months later to do their annual check. They detected a gas leak from the flue in the conservatory and immediately condemned the boiler.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the two men were aware that the flue they put in was defective but had made no attempt to rectify it. Neither of the pair were registered engineers with the Gas Safe Register.

Christopher Edmund Amphlett, 65, of Newtown Road, Worcester, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8 (1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid community work over 12 months. He was also ordered to pay £2,400 costs.

Mark Kristian Amphlett, 37, of Canterbury Road, Worcester, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3 (3) and Regulation 8 (1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was also sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid community work over 12 months and ordered to pay £2,400 costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Wai-Kin Liu said:

"Christopher and Mark Amphlett knowingly proceeded with an illegal gas fitting task that left the home owner at considerable risk. This case could have been much more serious if the resident had not been due a contracted check by the gas provider.

"Gas appliances may be affected by building works or the modification of premises. A common mistake among some builders and people doing DIY work is that they do not consider the implications of the building work to existing gas appliances.

"This case should serve as a lesson to any builder who is tempted to undertake gas work when not qualified and not registered. Householders should be extra vigilant in checking that any gas work is carried out only by registered engineers."

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 8(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 states: No person shall make any alteration to any premises in which a gas fitting or gas storage vessel is fitted if that alteration would adversely affect the safety of the fitting or vessel in such a manner that, if the fitting or the vessel had been installed after the alteration, there would have been a contravention of, or failure to comply with, these Regulations.
  3. Regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 states: No employer shall allow any of his employees to carry out any work in relation to a gas fitting or service pipework and no self-employed person shall carry out any such work, unless the employer or self-employed person, as the case may be, is a member of a class of persons* approved for the time being by the Health and Safety Executive. (*Gas Safe registered)

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