A PLUMBER has been given a suspended jail sentence after failing to perform safety checks on gas appliances and producing false certificates.
Ben Laverty, who fraudulently claimed to be a registered gas fitter, was given the sentence when he appeared at North Devon Magistrates' Court last Wednesday.
Laverty, 40, of Kipling Terrace, Westward Ho!, produced false certificates for four properties in Barnstaple after being asked to perform the checks by a property management agent.
He appeared before Barnstaple Magistrates charged with two breaches of safety law after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated his fraudulent activity.
Magistrates heard how suspicions were raised when Laverty repeatedly failed to provide a certificate for one of the properties he had been asked to carry out routine gas appliance tests at.
After checking with the Gas Safe Register the property management agent found Laverty was not registered and had been using another member's identification number on certificates he had issued.
An investigation by HSE found Laverty had only made a "totally inadequate visual inspection" of the appliances at three properties and did not visit a fourth.
Magistrates' handed Laverty a four-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and a two month curfew which will keep him at home between 8pm and 7am. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,938.
After the hearing HSE Inspector Simon Jones said: "Mr Laverty unnecessarily put lives at risk through his failure to carry out the work he was asked to do, and in leading the managing agent into believing he was legitimately registered to undertake the gas safety checks.
"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."