Substandard gas work results in prison sentence

A builder has been jailed for a year after carrying out gas repairs that were so poor, a pensioner's life was put at risk.

Luton Crown Court heard that between January 21st and June 30th 2010, Patrick Regan implemented a number of internal building projects - including gas work and appliance renovations.

Despite not holding a Gas Safe registration, Mr Regan carried out a number of changes that he was not qualified to do.

During the programme, he removed a chimney breast in the lounge but left a still connected and unstable fire flue liner lying across the floor - routed into a floor void.

The gas meter had also been tampered with when the wall it was fixed to was removed, which caused a large leak.

Additionally, gas fitting work in the kitchen included the installation of a five-metre pipe but this only had one clip supporting it and it could have collapsed on top of the homeowner at any point.

The house was left in an "immediately dangerous" condition, but it wasn't until a Gas Safe registered builder came to the property that it became apparent how much risk Mr Regan put the pensioner in because of his negligence.

Because of Mr Reagan's failings, the householder has been left with bills in the region of £5,000 and she will struggle to pay this off.

Patrick Regan was sentenced to 12 months in prison after being found guilty of single breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was also ordered to pay in prosecution £2,500 in costs.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Stephen Manley said: "This case highlights the need for householders to exercise caution when they select people to work in their home. 

"They should always check credentials and obtain references for similar works done, and never feel awkward about asking questions. You should only use a Gas Safe registered engineer for gas fitting works."

By Francesca Witney