A BRIXHAM gas fitter who carried out unsafe work on boilers while pretending to be a registered engineer has been given a suspended jail sentence.
Stephen Nurse, 59, of Church Street, put lives at risk with his 'shoddy' work, Exeter Crown Court was told.
He produced 10 gas safety certificates using the name and Gas Safe Register and Corgi identification numbers belonging to a legitimately registered gas engineer.
The Health and Safety Executive found Nurse had also installed two boilers, signed-off work on another two and had serviced gas boilers all while falsely claiming to be a member of the register and its predecessor, Corgi.
The HSE began investigations after Gas Safe Register received complaints about Nurse's work.
He was found to have installed a gas boiler to undersized pipework at a house and had failed to seal the boiler flue correctly endangering the lives of people inside with escaping poisonous gas fumes.
Carbon monoxide could have leaked back into the property. There was also a risk of gas leaking from the cooker.
But, between May 2008 and July 2012, Nurse ignored warnings about his conduct.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was given a two-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
Nurse was fined a total of £2,000 and ordered to pay £500 in costs. He was also ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to property owners.
Recorder David Bartlett said Nurse had previously been employed as a gas fitter but had failed to keep up his registration and training after becoming self-employed.
He added: "The gas work presented serious risk to health and safety of the public."
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Simon Jones said: "Nurse's shoddy work on the boiler could have killed someone.
"This incident shows how important it is for gas fitters to become properly trained and registered gas engineers.
"All gas engineers must be members of the Gas Safe Register by law so customers can be sure they are dealing with someone who is properly trained and qualified to do the job.
"Unregistered installers who carry out gas work could expose people to unacceptable risks that can prove fatal.
"Any business or sole trader who carries out work on any gas appliance without being properly trained and registered is breaking the law and HSE will not hesitate to prosecute."
Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: "Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries an ID card which not only proves who they are but also gives details of the kind of work they are qualified to carry out.
"We always encourage the public to ask to see an engineer's ID card and to call us on 0800 408 5500 or log on to www.gassaferegister.co.uk to check the details.
"A registered engineer will never mind being asked and it helps us all to make life more difficult for the illegal gas fitters."