Lowestoft plumber jailed for six months over health and safety fears

A Lowestoft plumber who put lives at risk by illegally working on domestic gas appliances has been jailed for six months today.

Paul Jowett, 40, of Nelson Road in Pakefield, Lowestoft admitted five breaches of gas and health and safety regulations when he appeared at Ipswich Crown Court today.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Jowett carried out work on gas fittings and appliances at a number of addresses in the Lowestoft area between May 2009 and October 2010 without being registered to do so by Gas Safe, a legal requirement for carrying out such work.

Jowett falsely told householders he was registered and used an invalid registration number on the safety certificates he issued.

One piece of work carried out by Jowett at the Red Rose Indian restaurant was judged by a qualified engineer to be so dangerous it represented 'an immediate danger to life or property.'

As a result of leaking gas, the restaurant was forced to close for two days.

In addition, the court heard Jowett continued to do work on gas appliances despite a written warning from HSE and being served with a Prohibition Notice on 22 April 2010.

Most Read

Jowett admitted three charges of breaching Regulation 3 (3) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998, one offence under Regulation 3 (1) of the same regulations, and a separate charge of breaching section 33 (1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Jailing Jowett for six months Judge Thompson said:

'The seriousness of these offences is absolutely clear. The degree of risk caused by the activities was extremely high.'

After the case HSE Inspector Edward Crick said: 'It is against the law for anyone who is not registered with Gas Safe to carry out work on a gas appliance.

When unqualified workers try to bypass the law in this way they are not only putting themselves at risk of prosecution, and potentially a large fine or a spell in prison - they are also putting their customers' lives at risk.

'To make matters even worse Jowett was told to stop working on gas appliances, and took no notice. He ignored the Prohibition Notice he had been served with, showing a complete lack of concern for public safety.

'Working with gas appliances is difficult, specialised and potentially very dangerous. Only engineers who are qualified and registered should attempt it.

'The HSE will not hesitate to prosecute those who break the law in this way.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter