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Birkenhead gas fitter given suspended jail sentence
1:36pm Friday 20th December 2013 in News
An illegal gas fitter has been ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service and received a suspended prison sentence after a boiler he installed at a family home in Wirral was found to be “immediately dangerous.”
Janusz Potocki fitted the boiler at a house on Larch Grove in Prenton on November 5, 2011, despite not being registered with Gas Safe – the official list of gas engineers.
The 50-year-old was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after it emerged the flue on the boiler had been badly installed, creating at potential risk that carbon monoxide could be released into the home.
Wirral Magistrates’ Court heard Potocki had returned to the house on several occasions after the owners reported the boiler was not working properly.
They eventually contacted the manufacturer, who sent out their own engineer.
He identified the boiler as being immediately dangerous and this opinion was confirmed when another Gas Safe-registered engineer visited the property to carry out repairs.
The issue was then reported to the Gas Safe Register and HSE.
The court was told Potocki had received a letter from HSE in September, 2011, warning him that he needed to be a member of the Gas Safe Register after he allegedly carried out a gas safety check for a landlord at another property.
He signed a document to acknowledge receiving the letter, but despite this still went ahead with the boiler installation in Prenton.
Potocki pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 by carrying out gas work without being registered and failing to make sure the flue on the boiler was safe.
Potocki, of Tudor Road, Birkenhead, was ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service and received a six-month suspended prison sentence.
He also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £3,500 during the sentencing hearing on December 17.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Richard Clarke said: “All gas engineers must, by law, be on the Gas Safe Register to prove they are qualified to carry out work safely. Mr Potocki ignored this and put lives in danger as a result.
“The boiler he installed at a home in Prenton was classed as ‘immediately dangerous’ by engineers from the Gas Safe Register. Quite simply, he should never have taken on the job, especially as he had already received a warning from HSE.
“I’d urge anyone who hires a gas engineer to check their Gas Safe ID card to ensure that they are suitably qualified to carry out the work.”