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28th January 2021


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Plumber endangered customers' lives

A self-employed plumber has been prosecuted after carrying out illegal work on gas boilers that was so bad it put his customers' lives at risk.

Michael Gallimore, 62, formerly of Hengrave Road, Fornham All Saints, near Bury St Edmunds, but now temporarily living in Shefford in Bedfordshire, admitted breaching health & safety laws at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court last week.

The Health & Safety Executive was alerted to Mr Gallimore's illegal work by the Gas Safe Register, which had carried out an investigation following a complaint from a customer. Mr Gallimore had installed gas boilers at houses in Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk, and Weeting in Norfolk between 2008 and 2009. 

The investigating officer found that the installation at Weeting was 'immediately dangerous' and classified both installations as 'at risk'. Mr Gallimore had also falsely claimed to be a legally registered engineer while working at the house in Weeting.

Speaking after the case Frank Simmonds, 69, who hired Mr Gallimore to work on his home in Weeting, said:

"We asked Michael Gallimore if he was qualified to do the gas work and he told us he was. We asked to see his paperwork and he said he would provide it to us later - but it just didn't appear. I would advise anyone hiring a tradesman to always check and double check the paperwork before you allow them to start work in your home. You think it will never happen to you but it can."

"It is illegal for an unregistered person to carry out work on a gas appliance," warns HSE inspector Sue Matthews.

"When unregistered workers try to bypass the law in this way they are not only putting themselves at risk of prosecution and a large fine, they are also putting their customers' lives at risk. Working with gas appliances is difficult, specialised and potentially very dangerous. Only qualified and registered engineers should attempt it. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute those who break the law in this way."

Mr Gallimore admitted breaching regulations 3(3), 3(7) and 33(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 and Section 3(2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Magistrates sentenced Mr Gallimore to a one year conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £4,000 in costs.

Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register has a further warning:

"Dangerous gas work can deadly. Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning," he says. "If you're having gas work done, no matter how big or small the job, only use a Gas Safe registered engineer.

"And always check the engineer's ID card to make sure they are qualified for the work you need doing. Just because an engineer can work on boilers doesn't mean he can automatically fit a gas fire." 

Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas engineers who are registered to work safely and legally on gas appliances. By law, all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register. At present, there are 126,000 of them.

To find an engineer:

T: 0800 408 5500

W: www.GasSafeRegister.co.ukwww.hse.gov.uk 

5th November 2010

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