A self-employed plumber who “put a number of people’s lives at risk” has been handed a suspended prison sentence after carrying out unsafe and unregistered gas work on a customer’s house.

Basildon Crown Court heard how Andrew Goodchild, of ASG Plumbing and Heating, had been served with a Prohibition Notice (PN) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) earlier that year for carrying out gas work whilst not being registered with Gas Safe.

Mr Goodchild ignored the requirements of the PN when he removed a gas cooker and pipework from the kitchen and moved a gas boiler, at a home in Leigh in September 2016.

As a result of his work, the property was left in a dangerous condition.

Goodchild, of The Maples, Harlow, had not become registered with Gas Safe Register and did not possess the necessary qualifications for carrying out gas work.

He was investigated by the HSE and subsequently charged with breaching the Prohibition Notice and two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Goodchild admitted the breach of the PN and one breach of the gas safety regulations.

He was then convicted of the additional breach in a Newton hearing – a type of hearing used to determine the level of a defendant’s guilt when a guilty plea is entered.

The judge handed the plumber an 18-month suspended sentence, ordered him to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and pay £3,200 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Saffron Turnell said: “Mr Goodchild showed a clear disregard for the law and put a number of people’s lives at risk.

“Carrying out gas work is difficult, specialised and potentially very dangerous.

“It is therefore vital that only registered gas engineers, who are trained and competent, work on gas appliances and fittings.”

Mr Goodchild was contacted for comment but did not respond by the time the Echo went to print.

For more information and guidance about gas safety and the requirements of those working on gas appliances you can visit www.hse.gov.uk/gas/index.htm