Plumber in court over dangerous gas boiler

An Essex plumber has been sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid community work for carrying out illegal and dangerous gas work at a home in Tiptree.

John Ranfield, 63, from Tiptree, was hired to do some plumbing as part of a job to build a downstairs cloakroom at a house in April 2013. While he was working at the property, he agreed to install a domestic gas-fired boiler even though he was not registered with Gas Safe Register – as the law requires – or competent to do so.

Mr Ranfield attached the boiler to the existing flue without carrying out the required checks and left the boiler with an unstable flame caused by incorrect combustion – potentially exposing the householders to carbon monoxide.

Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard today (8 July) that one defect of Mr Ranfield’s installation, on 27/8 April last year, was classed as ‘immediately dangerous’ by Gas Safe Register investigators with a further two ‘at risk’ defects identified. The matter was passed to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who prosecuted Mr Ranfield for safety failings.

John Ranfield, of Lansdowne Close, Tiptree, Essex, was sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid community service to be carried out over the next year and ordered to pay costs of £500 after pleading guilty to three separate breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

After the case, HSE Inspector Kim Tichias said:

“John Ranfield should have known better than to accept a job he was not qualified, competent, or legally allowed to do.

“People can die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and gas explosions. It is therefore vital that only registered gas engineers, who are trained and competent, work on gas appliances and fittings.”

Russell Kramer, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, added:

“Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries a Gas Safe ID card, which shows who they are and the type of gas appliances they are qualified to work on.

“We always encourage the public to ask for and check the card and if they have any concerns about the safety of work carried out in their home, to speak to us. Every year we investigate thousands of reports of illegal gas work. Call us on 0800 408 5500 or visit our website at

Further information about gas safety can be found online at

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. 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) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states: “Without prejudice to the generality of paragraphs (1) and (2) above and subject to paragraph (4) below, 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(9) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states: “Where a person performs work on a gas appliance he shall immediately thereafter examine the effectiveness of any flue; the supply of combustion air; its operating pressure or heat input or, where necessary, both; its operation so as to ensure its safe functioning, and forthwith take all reasonable practicable steps to notify any defect to the responsible person and, where different, the owner of the premises in which the appliance is situated or, where neither is reasonably practicable, in the case of an appliance supplied with liquefied petroleum gas, the supplier of gas to the appliance, or, in any other case, the transporter.”
  5. HSE news releases are available at


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