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Brothers handed suspended sentence for illegal gas work
Published:  24 August, 2015

An unregistered gas fitter and his brother were given community service after the illegal installation of a gas boiler which was left in a dangerous condition.

Lee Butterworth, 43, who trades as English Riviera Building Company Ltd, contracted his brother Scott Butterworth, aged 41, to carry out the work at a house at Crabtree Close, Plymouth.

The pair were prosecuted at Torquay Magistrates on Friday 21 August 2015 following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The court heard that Lee Butterworth was carrying out extensive works on the house which included installing a new gas boiler. Lee Butterworth arranged for his brother, Scott Butterworth, to install the gas boiler and gas pipework despite him not being a member of Gas Safe Register.

After Scott Butterworth had fitted the gas boiler the homeowner then had a properly registered member of Gas Safe Register at his home to fit a gas cooker. That gas engineer found a gas leak on the pipework that Scott Butterworth had installed and classed what he found as ‘immediately dangerous’ as there was a risk of a gas explosion.

Lee Butterworth, of Torquay, pleaded guilty to a single breach of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to 10 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, ordered to undertake 150 hours unpaid community work and pay costs of £496.60.

Scott Butterworth of Paignton, pleaded guilty to two breaches of Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to 10 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, to run concurrently, and also ordered to undertake 150 hours unpaid community work and pay costs of £496.60.

HSE inspector Simon Jones, said: “Scott Butterworth was not competent or registered to work on gas appliances and this was clearly shown when his work left a gas installation which had a gas leak. It is extremely fortunate that there was not a gas explosion as a result of Scott Butterworth’s work.

‘Lee Butterworth was in charge of this work and he should have ensured that anyone undertaking gaswork on his job was properly registered with Gas Safe Register. A simple check on the Gas Safe Register website would have alerted him to the fact that his brother was not registered to do gaswork but Lee Butterworth did not do this simple check but allowed his brother to undertake illegal gaswork.

“The poor standard of work in this case could have had tragic consequences for the homeowners.”

Further information about gas safety can be found on the HSE website atwww.hse.gov.uk/gas.