Plumber jailed after illegal gas work costs elderly woman over £1000

A plumber has been jailed for 16 months after carrying out illegal gas work that cost an elderly woman over £1000.

Christopher Roland Shaw, also known as Chris Parker and trading as SOS Express Plumbing, attended the woman’s home on Newport Road, Headingley, Leeds, in October 2019, where he was hired to carry out gas work. Mr Shaw had been assisting the woman with general plumbing needs for a number of years and told her he fitted the water heater in her bathroom.

As a result of this, the woman believed Mr Shaw was able to work on gas appliances. At the request of the woman, who was 81 at the time, Mr Shaw then removed an existing gas boiler and installed a new combination boiler at a total cost of £1157.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Mr Shaw was not registered with the Gas Safety Register (GSR), a legal requirement whilst carrying out gas work. Mr Shaw’s work at the woman’s home was subsequently investigated by GSR, which identified several issues. Some of these issues were deemed as ‘at risk,’ meaning they could be a danger to life or the property in the future.

Mr Shaw had previously been prohibited from carrying out gas work by HSE and had subsequently been investigated and prosecuted for similar illegal gas work, resulting in a custodial sentence in 2015.

Christopher Roland Shaw, of Stonegate Farm Close, Leeds, Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Section 33(1)(g) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulations 3(1) and 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. Mr Shaw was sentenced to 16 months in prison at Leeds Crown Court on 9 February 2023.

HSE inspector Darian Dundas said: “Whilst checks could have been made with Gas Safe Register to identify whether Mr Shaw was registered and competent to carry out the gas works prior to any work being undertaken, Mr Shaw knew that he was not allowed to do this work.

“The carrying out of illegal gas works will not be tolerated and will be investigated fully with offenders being brought to justice.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:
  3. Further details on the latest HSE news releasesare available.
  4. Please see the link below to the page on HSE’s website that is the best guide to doing it the right way: Gas safety (