Rogue gas fitter given jail sentence

A plumber who put lives at risk by illegally fitting gas appliances has been sentenced to jail for six months.

Paul Jowett of Lowestoft admitted five breaches of gas and health and safety regulations after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found he carried out work on gas fittings at a number of premises between May 2009 and October 2010 without being registered to do so.

While the majority of the work he did involved the domestic market, he carried out a job at the Red Rose Indian restaurant in Lowestoft which a qualified engineer adjudged to be so dangerous that it represented “an immediate danger to life or property.”

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As a result of leaking gas, the restaurant was forced to close for two days.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Jowett falsely told customers he was registered and used an invalid registration number on the safety certificates he issued.

Although Jowett was issued a written warning from HSE and served with a Prohibition Notice in April, the court heard that he continued to do work on gas appliances.

"Working with gas appliances is difficult, specialised and potentially very dangerous. Only engineers who are qualified and registered should attempt it,” said HSE inspector Edward Crick. “HSE will not hesitate to prosecute those who break the law in this way.”

Jowett pleaded guilty to three charges of breaching Regulation 3 (3) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998, one offence under Regulation 3 (1) of the same regulations, and a separate charge of breaching section 33 (1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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