A Brixham gas fitter has been fined after leaving work he carried out in a dangerous condition and falsely claiming to be a registered gas engineer.

In a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive on 2 November, Torbay Magistrates heard that Sean Collins not only left the flue of a boiler in a dangerous position, but also removed the gas meter and failed to reinstall it, leaving open-ended gas pipes, which could have poured gas into the house.

The work was carried out during July and August last year at an unoccupied house undergoing renovation in Brixham. The matter came to light when the householder could not find the meter and contacted Gas Safe Register.

Further investigations revealed that Collins falsely advertised himself as a member of Gas Safe Register and used the organisation's logo on his on-line publicity material.

Collins pleaded guilty to four offences under Gas Safety Regulations and one breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.

HSE inspector Simon Jones said: "All gas engineers must be members of Gas Safe Register by law so customers can be sure they are dealing with someone who is properly trained and qualified to do the job.

"Sean Collins 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. Any business or sole trader who carries out work on any gas appliance without being properly trained and registered is breaking the law and HSE will not hesitate to prosecute."