Landlord given suspended prison sentence over gas failings

A Durham landlord has been given a suspended prison sentence following his failure to maintain or check the gas fittings in one of his properties.

A gas fire with back boiler at a tenanted property in Wilton Street, Middlesbrough, was found to be immediately dangerous when examined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). HSE prosecuted Christopher Hobaiter after it was found that the appliance was leaking deadly carbon monoxide into the ground floor sitting room. Windows were sealed shut and wall ventilation grills had been blocked over for some time, exposing the tenant to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Christopher Hobaiter of Lyndon Avenue, Hartburn, Stockton on Tees pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 36(2) of the Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations 1998 and was sentenced to a 26 week prison sentence suspended for 24 months with £1904.02 costs by Teesside Magistrates Court.

After the hearing, HM Inspector of Health and Safety, Richard Bulmer commented: “Low level carbon monoxide poisoning can be severe and debilitating and almost always fatal at higher levels.

“Falling asleep in the vicinity of a carbon monoxide producing gas fire is highly likely to lead to death .”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related 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. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:
  3. HSE news releases are available at

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