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Man jailed and grandson fined for illegal and dangerous gas work

Date:
11 September 2015

A man has been jailed for 26 weeks and his grandson fined thousands of pounds for carrying out illegal and dangerous gas work in Doncaster.

Michael Atkinson installed a new boiler at a house in Fairfield Court, under the direction of his grandfather, Graham Atkinson.

The latter’s registration with Gas Safe had expired and Michael’s own registration was only applicable to work he carried out for his employer.

The Health and Safety Executive investigated and Doncaster magistrates heard that the work (in October 2012) was dangerous – a flue was fitted incorrectly.

During its investigation, HSE also discovered that Graham Atkinson, 70, had carried out dangerous work on two flats in the town.

Prosecuted by HSE, Graham Atkinson, of Pickering Road, Bentley, pleaded guilty to three offences and not guilty to two others. After a trial in June, he was found guilty on both counts. On 11 September, he was jailed for a total of 26 weeks and must pay £3,000 towards HSE prosecution costs, as well as an £80 victim surcharge.

Michael Atkinson, 29, of Church Lane, Bessacarr, pleaded guilty in April to two offences under Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations.

At a hearing in July, he was fined a total of £5,000 and must pay £1,190 towards HSE prosecution costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

HSE inspector Mark Welsh, who investigated this case, said:

“Graham Atkinson should not have been carrying out or overseeing any gas work and should have been well aware of this fact.

“He displayed a deliberate and reckless disregard for the law, putting owners and tenants of three properties at risk.

“He deceived those involved into thinking that work was being carried out by a competent Gas Safe registered engineer and he carried out defective work that could have resulted in someone being seriously injured or even killed.

“Michael Atkinson should not have been carrying out gas work in his own name and should have been well aware of this fact.

“This case should be a reminder that HSE will take action when the law is flouted.”

NOTE: Following an unsuccessful Crown Court appeal on 10 June 2016, Graham Atkinson was ordered to pay an additional £1,000 towards costs.

Notes to Editors

  1. This week (14 to 20 September 2015) is Gas Safety Week.
  2. Details of charges relating to Graham Atkinson: 1) Pleaded not guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, relating to the fitting of a gas boiler. He was found guilty at trial in June and sentenced on 11 September to 26 weeks in prison. 2) Pleaded not guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, relating to issuing a fraudulent gas safety certificate. He was found guilty at trial in June and sentenced on 11 September to 16 weeks in prison. 3) Pleaded guilty in April to three counts of breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. For each breach, he was sentenced on 11 September to 16 weeks in prison. 4) All prison sentences to run concurrently.
  3. Details of charges relating to Michael Atkinson: 1) Pleaded guilty in April to two counts of breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced in July – fined £1,000 for one breach and £4,000 for the other breach.
  4. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related 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.
  5. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  6. HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.

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