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Gas fitter in court after removing boiler illegally

A builder from Suffolk has been sentenced to six months in prison and community service, after he illegally removed a boiler and left a gas supply pipe open and uncapped.

What happened?

Keith Vickerstaff had been hired to install a central heating system for a local household, but an investigation into the works found that he had removed a gas boiler and left an open ended, uncapped, gas supply pipe.

A Gas Safe investigator later classed this as ‘immediately dangerous’, after Mr Vickerstaff had abandoned the works, despite having taken a considerable deposit from the family to install full central heating.

Additionally, it was found that the 49-year-old was not Gas Safe registered and was not qualified to carry out any works involving the removal or installation of gas appliances.

What was the outcome?

Keith Vickerstaff pleaded guilty to breaching both the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was given a six months prison sentence suspended for 18 months and given 180 hours of unpaid community work.

HSE Inspector, Anthony Brookes, said:

“It is sheer luck that nobody was injured as a result of Mr Vickerstaff’s
shoddy and illegal work. His actions endangered householders
and their neighbours and put them at serious risk
of injury and even potentially death.

“He took money for work that he was not competent to do and left
the occupants of the house thousands of pounds out of pocket
and with an extremely dangerous gas supply that could
have caused a fire or explosion at any time.”

If you have been affected by professional negligence such as this, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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