Dodgy gas engineer jailed after leaving couple 'at risk of explosion'

Written by on June 7, 2019

Unqualified gas fitter Colin Batchelor has been jailed after leaving a couple’s home in such a dangerous state it was at risk of an explosion.

The work at the Cheadle property was so shoddy that, within five minutes of turning on the gas afterwards, the householders could smell fumes.

Batchelor simply ‘tightened a nut’ to stop the leak and failed to carry out any further checks. He then falsified a document, claiming he was Gas Safe registered.

Now the 67-year-old has admitted five charges relating to the contravention of gas safety regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Act. The offences took place in September 2016 – reports Stoke-on-Trent Live .

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard how the defendant had been in his local pub when another regular mentioned they wanted to have their central heating system replaced.

Joseph Hart, prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said: “Mr Batchelor interrupted to offer his services. During the discussion that followed, the man explained the work would include replacing all his radiators, the pipework and boiler.

“On being asked specifically whether he was registered to carry out the work, Mr Batchelor assured that he was.”

The couple later handed over £1,000 in cash. Batchelor then pulled up at the terrace house in Queen Street in an unmarked van, accompanied by a young helper.

Queen Street, Cheadle

Queen Street, Cheadle (Image: Google Images)
He replaced the boiler and blow-torched the pipework. A new pipe was laid, which went under the bedroom floorboards, down through the living room ceiling and into a gas meter cupboard.

While chatting to one of the householders, Batchelor mentioned he used to work for British Gas – a claim described in court as a ‘blatant lie’.

After he completed the job, the couple were beset by problems with their new boiler. They called in an independent registered engineer.

While inspecting the meter cupboard, the engineer found a gas leak. He turned off the supply and notified Gas Safe. Multiple defects – including unsupported pipework – were identified and a gas fire was classed as ‘immediately dangerous’.

Mr Hart added: “There was a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and a gas explosion, both of which carried the risk of death.”

He said the whole row of houses could also have been at risk if the gas had ignited.

The court was told Batchelor, of Gorsty Hill Road, Tean, had an ‘electrical background’ and had previously worked for the prison service. Since ‘semi-retiring’, he has done handyman jobs.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court
Samina Rashid, mitigating, said he regretted his actions and realised he had been ‘foolish’.

Jailing him for eight months, Judge Paul Glenn told the defendant he had ‘flagrantly disregarded’ the regulations in order to make money. He added: “The bottom line is you were never, ever qualified to do gas installations.”

Speaking after the case, the HSE stressed people should always check a gas engineer is registered to do specific work. To find out, they can enter the person’s registration number at www.gassaferegister.co.uk.

HSE inspector Dr Marie-Louise Riley-Roberts said: “The Gas Safe register exists to protect the public from people such as Colin Batchelor, who are prepared to work illegally, falsify records and carry out potentially dangerous gas work.”


Reader's opinions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Cannock Chase Radio FM

The Greatest Hits And So Much More!

Current track

Title

Artist

Background