A PLUMBER who carried out illegal and dangerous gas work at a family home has been ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

John Ranfield was working on a bathroom job in Saffron Way, in Tiptree, when he was asked to fit a new gas boiler.

Although Ranfield was accredited by City and Guilds, he has never been on the Gas Safe or Corgi register, which all plumbers who wish to work on gas appliances must apply to join by law.

In the weeks after he fitted the boiler, Kelvin Cansick and his wife found their water was not being heated correctly and the appliance often cut out.

When an independent expert from the Gas Safe Register visited the house, he found the boiler posed an “immediate risk to life or property” because the gas flame was unstable - meaning the boiler could have been emitting poisonous gases.

Although it was immediately disconnected, the expert found five more defects, which included damage to the gas flue.

An investigation was subsequently carried out by the Health and Safety Executive.

Ranfield, 63, of Lansdowne Close, in Tiptree, who is a legitimate plumber, admitted breaking health and safety regulations by carrying out the work illegally in April 2013 when he appeared at Colchester Magistrates’s Court today. 

Prosecutor Kim Tichias, an HSE inspector, said during the court hearing the consequences of Ranfield’s work could have been “catastrophic”.

She added: “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.”

Before coming to court Ranfield voluntarily paid the couple £750 in compensation to pay for the essential repairs.

He was also ordered to pay £500 court costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

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.”

To check the register, go to gassaferegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.