An unregistered plumber who put a family "in danger" and cost them a "fair amount" to fix his illegal gas work has been fined and ordered to pay back thousands of pounds.

Joshua Pitman, of Whitesmith Drive, Billericay, undertook gas work at a home in South Woodham Ferrers, which included installing gas pipework, on April 18 2020.

However, the 28-year-old's installation was found to not be up to current standards by a gas safe registered engineer.

Andrew Parsons, who lives in the property with his wife Patricia Parsons, says Pitman’s illegal gas work caused him and his family a great deal of distress. 

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Pitman undertook illegal work while still serving a suspended jail sentence, having previously been convicted of the same offences.

In October 2019, Pitman was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, after being prosecuted by HSE. This prosecution was in relation to illegal gas work he carried out in Brentwood in November 2016, where he installed a boiler in one property and relocated a boiler at another despite not being registered with gas safe register.

During this prosecution, Pitman was banned by HSE from carrying out gas work while being unregistered. He breached this enforcement notice while working on Mr Parsons’ home in April 2020.

HSE says Pitman has never completed the required Nationally Accredited Certification Scheme (ACS) qualifications to demonstrate he is competent to carry out gas work nor been registered with gas safe register.

Mr Parsons, 49, said: “[Joshua Pitman] did not have a gas safe certificate [and this] caused a lot of disruption for myself and my family via having to put all that work right - the involvement of Cadent, HSE and various other contributary factors that have come in to get that fixed and therefore cost a fair amount of money, but also more importantly, put my family in danger by somebody purporting to be gas safe registered and in fact not being and doing the work without those qualifications.

“So the result today of him pleading guilty, hopefully that will encourage others who may be thinking of doing this sort of work, the sentences that he has got, the compensation he is going to have to pay, hopefully that will deter other people from doing similar work.”

Pitman pleaded guilty to breaching section 33 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and regulation 3 of the Gas Safety Regulations 1998.

He was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, fined £22,500 and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday (October 10 October). He was also ordered to pay costs of £40,000 and £5,810 in compensation to Mr Parsons.

HSE inspector Connor Stowers said: “Joshua Pitman undertook gas work which he knew to be illegal and that he was not registered to do. All gas work must be carried out by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life. The sentence should highlight that HSE and the courts take illegal gas work very seriously because of the danger it can pose both to homeowners and the wider community.”

Mr Parsons continued: “I would urge anybody out there who is going to employ a plumber, heating engineer, anybody who is going to be doing gas work, make sure you check the certificates, make sure you check those people are who they say they are, that they have got all the right qualifications and that they have all the right certifications to do that work and not putting anybody in danger.”