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Illegal gas fitter put lives of South Yorkshire families at risk

An unregistered gas fitter has been jailed after “reckless” work at 85 homes across South Yorkshire left families and children at risk.

Steven Carter, 49, of Maltby, Rotherham, appeared before Doncaster Magistrates on three charges under the Gas Safety regulations for work carried out between 1st April 2010 and 18th March 2011.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), working with Gas Safe Register investigators, found a series of defects had been left by Carter when carrying out work on gas boilers, fires and cookers.

Some were identified as “immediately dangerous”, indicating there was a risk to tenants of injury or even death from exposure to carbon monoxide or an explosion.

Many more defects were classed as falling well below current standards.

Passing sentence District Judge Jonathan Bennett told Carter: “This was a reckless breach of the law… It is by good fortune that there has not been any serious injury or ill health as a result of the offences.

“However, there has been the potential for serious harm to the tenants in the houses where you worked.  

“You were an experienced gas fitter working without registration for 11 months on numerous properties. In two houses the work was dangerous and people were at risk. Considerable steps have had to be taken to remedy your work.”

He had failed to renew his registration with Gas Safe, which had expired on 30th March 2010.

HSE cited examples of dangerous or defective work found in properties in Orchard Street, Burton Avenue, Leinster Avenue and Denison Road in Doncaster; William Street in Rotherham, and in a number of homes in Denbigh Avenue,  Worksop.

Carter, of Wood View, Maltby, pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998, including one charge relating to the illegal work at over 85 properties. He was jailed for a total of 16 weeks.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Mark Welsh said: “Mr Carter carried out work that he knew full well to be Illegal. He is now in prison, which reflects the seriousness of his offences. I hope this sends a strong message to illegal gas fitters that HSE will take enforcement action in such cases.”

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