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Unregistered plumber handed suspended prison sentence for illegal gas work

A man from Essex has been given a suspended jail sentence after carrying out illegal gas work and breaching a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforcement notice.

On 18 April 2020, Joshua Pitman, 28, undertook gas work at a house in South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, which included installing gas pipework.

However, Mr Pitman’s installation at the house was found to not be up to current standards by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.

Andrew Parsons, who lives in the property with his wife Patricia Parsons, says Mr Pitman’s illegal gas work caused him and his family a great deal of distress.

An investigation by HSE found that Joshua Pitman undertook illegal work while still serving a suspended jail sentence, having previously been convicted of the same offences.

In October 2019, Mr Pitman was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, after being prosecuted by HSE. This HSE prosecution was in relation to illegal gas work Mr Pitman carried out in Brentwood, Essex, in November 2016, where he installed a boiler in one property and relocated a boiler at another despite not being registered with Gas Safe Register. During this prosecution, Mr Pitman was also served with a Prohibition Notice by HSE which banned him from carrying out gas work while being unregistered. Mr Pitman breached this enforcement notice while working on Mr Parsons’ home in April 2020.

Mr Pitman has never completed the required Nationally Accredited Certification Scheme (ACS) qualifications to demonstrate he is competent to carry out gas work nor been registered with Gas Safe Register.

HSE guidance can be found at: Gas – HSE

Mr Parsons, 49, said: “[Joshua Pitman] did not have a Gas Safe certificate [and this] caused a lot of disruption for myself and my family via having to put all that work right – the involvement of Cadent, HSE and various other contributary factors that have come in to get that fixed and therefore cost a fair amount of money, but also more importantly, put my family in danger by somebody purporting to be Gas Safe Registered and in fact not being and doing the work without those qualifications.

“So the result today of him pleading guilty, hopefully that will encourage others who may be thinking of doing this sort of work, the sentences that he has got, the compensation he is going to have to pay, hopefully that will deter other people from doing similar work.”

Joshua Pitman, of Whitesmith Drive, Billericay, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 33 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 3 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, fined £22,500 and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work at Chelmsford Crown Court on 10 October 2023. He was also ordered to pay costs of £40,000 and £5,810 in compensation to Mr Parsons.

HSE inspector Connor Stowers said: “Joshua Pitman undertook gas work which he knew to be illegal and that he was not registered to do. All gas work must be carried out by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life. The sentence should highlight that HSE and the courts take illegal gas work very seriously because of the danger it can pose both to homeowners and the wider community.”

Mr Parsons continued: “I would urge anybody out there who is going to employ a plumber, heating engineer, anybody who is going to be doing gas work, make sure you check the certificates, make sure you check those people are who they say they are, that they have got all the right qualifications and that they have all the right certifications to do that work and not putting anybody in danger.”

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. hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk