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Plymouth plumber puts lives at risk with false gas safety checks

Date:
8 April 2016

A plumber arranged for fraudulent gas safety checks at landlords’ tenanted properties leaving a gas boiler in a dangerous state and putting the lives of the tenants at risk.

Gary Lynch, aged 36, arranged for Neil Walker to undertake the landlords’ gas safety checks at tenanted properties on 14 separate occasions between February 2013 and May 2015 despite Neil Walker not being a registered gas engineer. Gas safety records produced used a false Gas Safe Register registration number and a fictitious address for Neil Walker.

Gary Lynch claimed to have met Neil Walker in a pub and instructed him to undertake the landlords’ gas safety checks for him, as the agent for the landlords, but Gary Lynch did not undertake any checks on whether Neil Walker was registered to legally undertake such work.

One gas boiler that Neil Walker passed as safe was subsequently found to be ‘Immediately Dangerous’ and was potentially leaking poisonous carbon monoxide into the tenants’ property. The tenants had been suffering from headaches and dizziness and contacted Wales and West Utilities who isolated the gas supply to the boiler and contacted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who investigated Gary Lynch’s activities.

During that investigation Gary Lynch was not able to provide any information or contact details for Neil Walker. Gary Lynch was sentenced at Plymouth Crown Court. He had previously been warned by HSE in 2014 about undertaking gaswork whilst not registered following previous concerns.

Gary Lynch of Fletemoor Road, Plymouth, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for each offence suspended for 18 months and was ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.

HSE Inspector Simon Jones, speaking after the hearing, said: “Gary Lynch’s negligence could have cost lives. All landlord’s gas safety checks must be done by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life. Mr Lynch knew this but carried on instructing an unregistered man and put the lives of tenants at serious risk from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

Further information about gas safety can be found at  http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/

Notes to Editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/ 
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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