A Barnsley plumber who posed as a qualified gas engineer, leaving a household in danger, was given a suspended sentence yesterday.

Self-employed Mark Dixon fitted a boiler at the property on Darton Street, which was classed as an ‘immediate danger' when independent gas experts were called to investigate.

He was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to four charges under the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told Sheffield Crown Court that his incompetence had exposed the homeowner to serious risk.

"Mr Dixon pretended to be Gas Safe registered and was happy to take the homeowner's money, disregarding the serious harm and injury he could have caused,” said HSE Inspector Carol Downes.

The householder reported the issue to Gas Safe Register in January 2011 after the boiler failed to work properly despite several attempts to fix it by Dixon.

The Gas Safe Regional Investigations officer found the boiler's chimney had not been properly connected to the flue and Dixon had pushed plastic insulation material down a separation gap to try to form a seal.

This defect was deemed immediately dangerous as the material would melt when temperatures rose causing fumes to enter the roof space.

Dixon was also given 180 hours' community service and was ordered to pay £1,200 compensation to the householders.