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Illegal gas fitter fined for leaving elderly woman at risk of CO poisoning
Published:  17 December, 2012

A South Yorkshire man has been fined for carrying out illegal gas work at a house in Sheffield, putting an elderly woman at risk from deadly carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Tom Scholfield, 28, of Rotherham, was fined on 14 December for leaving a gas fire 'immediately dangerous' after installing it at the woman's house in Dore. A central heating system he installed two months earlier was also found to be defective.

The poor standard of work was spotted by a registered Gas Safety engineer, who visited the property and also identified that Scholfield was not registered with Gas Safe and should not have undertaken any gas installation work.

Sheffield Magistrates' Court was told that a Gas Safe expert later visited the woman's home to examine all the gas appliances and found a series of defects. The most serious involved the gas fire where there was no seal to prevent CO from re-entering the woman's house. It was classed as an immediate danger and a warning notice was issued.

The Health & Safety Executive found that Scholfield, who traded as Scholfield Plumbing and Heating, had previously been Gas Safe registered, but his registration had expired some nine months prior to the fire installation.

Scholfield pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, was fined £3,300 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs.

HSE inspector Mark Welsh said: “Illegal gas work is unfortunately a regular occurrence and the result can be CO poisonings and explosions. Both can lead to the deaths of innocent people who put their trust in someone they believed was fully qualified and accredited as competent.

“Scholfield should never have carried out this work. He left the gas fire in a dangerous state and put an elderly woman at risk. It was lucky the poor workmanship was identified before anything serious happened.”

For information and advice about safe working with gas visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk.