Derbyshire man prosecuted for illegal gas work

A Derbyshire heating and plumbing engineer has been prosecuted for illegal gas work that potentially endangered lives.

Richard John Ward, trading as Richard Ward Plumbing and Heating, carried out the removal of an old boiler and installation of new one as part of a bathroom refurbishment at a house in Littlemoor Crescent, Chesterfield in November 2013.

Mr Ward, who was not Gas Safe registered at the time, left the new boiler in a unsafe state at the property.

Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court heard the homeowners were suspicious of the standard of the work so contacted National Grid who capped the boiler off and issued a warning notice.

A Gas Safe registered company was asked to inspect the installation to advise on action necessary to make it safe. Immediately dangerous defects were found, meaning the boiler posed significant risk to people while in use.

The flue had not been sealed to the structure of the building meaning dangerous products of combustion could renter the bathroom. The chimney had also not been supported meaning there was a potential for it to break under stress. Building regulation breaches were also found.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed that as well as not being registered, Mr Ward was not competent to undertake gas work. He thought he could install the boiler safely because he had watched others do it over the years.

Mr Ward was served with a Prohibition Notice preventing him from carrying out further gas work until he was registered. 

Richard John Ward, 26, of Heather Way, Holymoorside, Chesterfield pleaded guilty to breaching regulations3(1), 3(3) and 26(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and was fined £738 and ordered to pay costs of £1361, plus a victim surcharge of £74. 

In the sentencing remarks the Magistrates noted that this was a serious case and whilst no one was injured there was a very real risk that they could have been.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Lyn Spooner said:

“Richard Ward potentially put lives and property in danger by flouting the laws that are designed to protect people from substandard and faulty 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 place lives in danger and show a blatant disregard for the law to justice.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. Regulation 3(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states: No person shall carry out any work in relation to a gas fitting or gas storage vessel unless he is competent to do so.
  3. Regulation 3(3) states: No employer shall allow any of his employees to carry out any work in relation to a gas fitting or service pipework and no self-employed person shall carry out any such work, unless the employer or self-employed person, as the case may be, is a member of a class of persons approved for the time being by the Health and Safety Executive for the purposes of this paragraph.
  4. Regulation 26(1) states: No person shall install a gas appliance unless it can be used without constituting a danger to any person.
  5. HSE news releases are available at

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