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Bodged gas job could have caused explosion

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A family were told they were lucky to be alive after a dodgy workman bodged the job of moving their boiler – filling their home with deadly carbon monoxide.

A judge at Derby Crown Court heard Steven Colson put the Tingay family and their neighbours at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or explosion.

Nazia and Neil Tingay, along with their teenage daughter, started feeling ill after Steven Colson - using the name Steven Barkway and trading under a company called SBC Bathrooms - was contracted to move their boiler at their flat in Ambervale House, Moor Road, Ashover, in 2010.

Nazia, a project manager, said: “I’d been saying to my husband, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I’ve been so light–headed’.”

The couple had British Gas inspectors look at the boiler and it was immediately found to be unsafe.

“They said it’s putting out gas and we’re surprised you’re not dead,” Nazia added.

“I think the only thing that saved us was the fact that it was summer and we had the windows open.”

Speaking in court Tim Pole, prosecuting on behalf of HSE, said: “It exposed the occupants of that flat and the neighbouring flats to a serious risk of harm. There were potential catastrophic consequences that could have come from it.”

The 46–year–old pleaded guilty to four offences of contravening the Health and Safety Act 1974.

Mr Pole said Colson, of New Street, Bolsover, had falsely claimed he was a qualified gas fitter and would be able to move the family’s boiler while carrying out work on their bathroom. But Colson fitted the boiler in such a way that dangerous fumes could not be dispersed and it was impossible for flue products to exit and fresh air to enter.

Mr Pole said this could have led to a build up of lethal carbon monoxide fumes and potentially an explosion. He added that Colson had put a screw through a carbon monoxide detector in the family’s home, rendering it useless.

Laura Pitman, defending, said her client had never claimed to be a qualified gas fitter and had not sought to carry out work he was unqualified to do.

“He is deeply ashamed by his actions,” she added. “He offers no explanation for why he did what he did other than he is a man that had a legitimate business.”

Judge David Pugsley said Colson showed a “cynical, callous and reckless disregard for other people.”

He sentenced him to two months in prison and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

 

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