Unqualified plumber is fined for illegal work

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A plumber has been fined after carrying out gas fitting work while both unqualified and unregistered.

Andrew Barnes, working as APB Home Services Ltd, was given a three year conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £600 after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

APB Home Services was fined £300 with costs of £525 for one breach of the same regulations.

Mr Barnes, 52, of Wolverton, appeared at Milton Keynes Magistrates Court on Friday which heard he had carried out work dating back to 2006.

After an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) he was found to have deliberately and consistently pretended to be officially registered with Gas Safe, and its predecessor CORGI.

He ignored three warning letters from the HSE and carried on advertising himself as a competent, registered gas engineer, even including the CORGI and Gas Safe logos on his official paperwork.

HSE Inspector Robert Meardon said: “This was not an isolated lapse but a prolonged and deliberate deception that could have put lives at risk across the Milton Keynes area.

“Mr Barnes was well aware of the risks but chose to ignore them – as he chose to ignore the specific warnings from HSE.

“People can die as a result of gas leaks. It is vital that only registered gas engineers, who are trained and competent, work on gas appliances and fittings. Registered engineers are on the Gas Safe Register.”

Russell Kramer chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: “Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries a Gas Safe ID card, which shows who they are and the type of gas appliances they are qualified to work on.”