A Sheffield gas fitter has been jailed after illegally installing a boiler and leaving it in an immediately dangerous condition, putting a mother and her children at risk.

A week after gas experts capped the boiler off and attached a warning notice, Mahmood Khan returned, ignored the warning notice and reconnected the supply. Sheffield Magistrates Court heard last week (13 December) that in doing so, Mr Khan had displayed a total disregard for the family and had knowingly exposed them to serious risk of injury – or even death – over several weeks.

The prosecution was instigated after an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), which had been alerted by a National Grid engineer in January 2012.

The court was told the identification of Mr Khan had not been possible until the landlord of the property, herself prosecuted by HSE last year for several breaches of the Gas Safety regulations relating to the same property, finally provided sufficient information.

Mr Khan of Pye Bank Road, Sheffield pleaded guilty to four offences under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 committed between 15 July 2011 and 15 March 2012. He was handed a suspended six-month jail sentence and ordered to pay £600 in costs. His sentence is suspended for 12 months.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Denise Fotheringham said: “Not only was this person incompetent, unqualified and working illegally with gas fittings, he was also careless about the lives of a woman and her two children.

“He had originally fitted a second-hand boiler and left it in a dangerous state. He later ignored the capping off of the boiler and also the highly visible warnings saying ‘immediately dangerous’ and proceeded to reconnect it, obviously leaving it still dangerous. It demonstrated a chilling disregard for the safety of others.

“People who work on gas fittings and appliances must be competent to do so and must be registered with Gas Safe. HSE will prosecute unregistered gas fitters who operate illegally, as they are the people who put others at risk of serious personal injury, or death.”

Russell Kramer, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, commented: “A quarter of a million illegal gas jobs are carried out every year by people who don’t have the skills or the qualifications to work safely with gas. One in five of the illegal gas jobs we investigate are found to be immediately dangerous, as was the case in this instance.

“This means that the work could lead to a gas leak, fire, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning. It is therefore vital that people always make sure they only use a registered gas engineer.

“Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries a Gas Safe ID card, which shows who they are and the type of gas work they are qualified to do. You can check if your engineer is legal and safe by asking for the card, and if you have any concerns, contact us by calling 0800 408 5500 or visit our website at www.gassaferegister.co.uk.”