Kirkby man risked lives with fake gas engineer work

A Kirkby man who used another gas engineer's number to pretend he was properly registered put peoples' lives at risk, a court heard.

Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 3:40 pm
Mansfield Magistrates Court
Mansfield Magistrates Court

The alarm was raised after Neil Hawkins repaired a boiler at a rented house on Sutton Road, and sent an undated landlords' gas certificate to the lettings agency, who made enquiries.

Prosecutor Helen Lees, of the Health and Safety Executive, said the last time Hawkins was on the Gas Safe Register was in 2003, when it was the Corgi register.

A Gas Safe engineer examined Hawkins' work at the Sutton Road property, and found pipework was not sleeved properly, and the boiler case's sealing had deteriorated.

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And a boiler Hawkins installed at a property on Heathfield Road, was missing a fire stop and a support for the flue, which meant the "products of combustion" could leak.

In September 2016 he carried out safety checks on two boilers at Kirkby health centre, via a doctor at the GP surgery, who also owns the other two homes.

Ms Lees said the offences were aggravated because Hawkins tried to save money on registration fees, and deliberately sought to conceal the fact he was unregistered.

John Wilford, mitigating, said Hawkins, who had no previous convictions, runs a plumbing and heating firm with his son.

"He left school and did his City and Guilds and apprenticeship," Mr Wilford said. "He worked within the industry without any difficulties at all."

Hawkins, 69, of Welbeck Street, admitted six counts of contravening health and safety regulations, when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on October 2.

District judge Jonathan Taaffe told him: "I'm not sure you appreciate why the courts view these matters as seriously as they do.

"For want of a better way of putting it, cowboy operatives who hold themselves as Gas Safe registered put lives at risk.

"Everyone in this room and members of the general public place their trust in heating engineers when dealing with boilers and the like - that's precisely why they need to be registered so there is some degree of trust that the engineer is correctly qualified."

Hawkins received a 20 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work.

He was ordered to pay £4,305 costs and a £115 government surcharge.

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