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Bude Plumber Fined For Illegal And Dangerous Gas Work

By Kevin Burke
23rd December, 2014

A Bude plumber has been handed a fine after potentially putting people's lives in danger as a result of hazardous and illegal gas work.

Matthew Congdon, 33, was fined £5,000 with costs of £418 in a hearing at Bodmin Magistrates Court on December 19th, after admitting to one breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and three breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was also told to pay a homeowner £700 in compensation.

The court heard that Congdon, of Stibb, is a director of Coastal Plumbing and Heating Ltd. His Gas Safe registration had expired, but he still claimed to be registered and use the Gas Safe Register's logo and name in online adverts, in the local press and on his work vehicle.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that Congdon had installed at least one gas fire and two boilers after his registration expired in May 2013, that he had performed a number of landlords' gas safety checks, and that he had misled a managing agent that he was on the Gas Safe Register verbally and through documentation.

A Gas Safe inspector analysed Congdon's gas work and found 33 seperate instances in the two boilers and the gas fire where the workmanship did not meet the manufacturer's specifications or meet current standards. 

A gas inlet pipe was then classed as At Risk, and Congdon was issued with a prohibition notice on September 9th 2014 that required him to stop falsely claiming to be Gas Safe by September 12th. However, on November 7th, Congdon's van was found to still display the Gas Safe Register logo.

Following the hearing, Simon Jones, an inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, argued Congdon "clearly put profit before safety".

He stated that Congdon "deliberately deceived people" into thinking he was qualified to perform gas work, and risked both the lives of tenants and homeowners and the reputation of the managing agent that had trusted him.

"Fortunately", nobody was injured as a result of Congdon's behaviour, Mr Jones said.

He explained that managing agents and landlords are legally obliged to arrange annual gas safety checks for their properties and to use Gas Safe Registered engineers to do so.

 

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