An unregistered Staffordshire gas fitter has been handed a suspended prison sentence for potentially endangering lives through illegal gas work.

Glenn Edkins, 43, trading as GPE Plumbing & Heating, was prosecuted yesterday (15 April) for carrying out faulty gas work while installing a boiler at a home in Barton-under-Needwood between 8 and 22 November 2012. Burton Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Edkins left the boiler working and filled in the commissioning paperwork and boiler guarantee, quoting a false Gas Safe registration number.

The householders smelled gas and called Mr Edkins back, who then identified the location of the leak and fixed it. When the occupants subsequently discovered that he was not a registered engineer, a local Gas Safe registered engineer visited and identified several serious defects with the installation.

Undersized copper pipe had been used to supply gas to the boiler, which could have caused a dangerous pressure drop if the boiler, fire and cooker hob were all used at once, potentially resulting in an explosion. Mr Edkins also used copper pipe at the incorrect width and left corroded pipe work in a wall, which could also have led to leaks and explosions.

Once HSE was informed, Mr Edkins was served with a Prohibition Notice preventing him from carrying out further gas work until he was registered. He was also sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to pay a victim compensation order of £1,275. In addition, he was ordered to pay costs of £1,264, having previously pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Lyn Spooner said: “Glenn Edkins put lives and property in danger by flouting the laws that are designed to protect people from substandard and defective gas work carried out by unregistered fitters.

“HSE would encourage all homeowners and landlords to ensure they only use Gas Safe registered engineers and to check whether an engineer is registered before any work commences. Gas safety remains a priority for HSE and we will continue to bring illegal gas fitters to justice when we become aware of those who place lives in danger and show a blatant disregard for the law.”

Gas Safe Register chief executive Russell Kramer added:

Gas Safe Register chief executive Russell Kramer added: “Illegal fitters put lives in danger, with one in five illegal gas jobs investigated by the Register found to be in an immediately dangerous state. You can check whether an individual is registered by asking to see their Gas Safe ID card or by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or by visiting the website