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FITTER PROSECUTION HIGHLIGHTS ‘WIDESPREAD’ GAS DANGER

Bogus gas engineer given two years in jail for false claims and dangerous work

Stephen Jonathan, aged 35, from Accrington has been has been sent to prison for two years after endangering lives at two properties in Lancashire and falsely claiming he was a registered gas engineer. Burnley Crown Court heard that his actions put residents at risk of death or serious injury in a gas explosion or from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Jonathan installed a new boiler at a community nurse’s home on on 22 October 2010. When an engineer visited to repair the boiler, after it was reported to the manufacturer as faulty,  he classified the installation as being ‘immediately dangerous’.

The work by Jonathan was reported to Gas Safe Register and HSE which triggered an investigation. This revealed that Jonathan had also installed central heating in a house in Lancaster during November and December 2010. He had again claimed to be a registered gas engineer, and the installation was also classified as being ‘immediately dangerous’.

Home occupier Geoff Street said Stephen Jonathan appeared quite professional when he first met him.

Unregistered gas fitters “far more common than you think”

Stephen Jonathan, of Collins Drive, Baxenden, admitted putting lives at risk, and carrying out gas work while falsely claiming to be a registered gas engineer. He was sentenced to 24 months in prison at Burnley Crown Court on 20 October 2011.

HSE investigating Inspector Stuart Kitchingman said:

“Mr Jonathan has displayed an appalling disregard for the lives of other people, and a total contempt for the law. He went out of his way to fake qualifications and continued to carry out gas work illegally. His actions caused a considerable amount of cost and distress to his customers, and it was only luck that no one was seriously harmed.

Paul Johnston, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register, added:

“Gas fitters working unregistered like Stephen Jonathan are far more common than you think – we estimate they’re doing 250,000 illegal jobs each year, causing fires, explosions, gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning and leaving people out of pocket.

All gas engineers have to be Gas Safe registered – it’s the law. Our message to everyone is clear – check the engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card before letting them work on gas.”

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