An unregistered gas fitter has appeared in court in Swindon after carrying out illegal work on a boiler, potentially leaving the householder at risk.

Michael Compton, a parish councillor in Blunsdon, illegally removed a gas boiler and installed a new one at a property at Exmouth Street.

Compton was not Gas Safe registered and should not have carried out any type of gas work.

Swindon Magistrates' Court heard that Compton had told the householder that his colleague would sign-off the work and provide a guarantee. However his colleague refused to sign the guarantee on his behalf.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) also found that Compton had been cautioned before for carrying out illegal gas work and had signed a letter to state that he would not carry out such work in future.

Compton pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,840 in costs, on Monday 7 January.

HSE inspector Ian Whittles, said: "Compton's dangerous boiler work could have led to injury or even a fatality. He chose to disregard the previous caution, ignored his commitment not to take on further illegal gas work and then expected a colleague to sign-off his shoddy work.

"Anyone working with gas has to be registered as trained and competent to do so and be members of the Gas Safe Register by law. That way customers can be sure they are dealing with an engineer who is qualified to do the job.

"Unregistered gas fitters expose people to unacceptable risks that can prove fatal. Any business or sole trader who carries out work on any gas appliance without being registered is breaking the law and HSE will not hesitate to prosecute."