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Handyman jailed over gas work.

Byline: BETHANY LODGE @bethlodge1

A SELF-EMPLOYED handyman has been jailed for gas work which could have killed a homeowner.

Paul Joseph Vokes was not registered to carry out gas work and put the owner's life in danger by not buying equipment that allowed noxious gasses to escape the house.

Vokes, 45, was hired to replace ridge tiles on the roof of a Hartlepool property belonging to an elderly woman. Teesside Magistrates' Court heard Vokes, trading as Paul's Handyman Services, carried out the work on the Hartlepool home, on May 16, 2014.

One of the tiles incorporated an adaptor so that it could be connected directly to the flue pipe which ran from the ground floor to the loft space.

The purpose of the flue was to direct products of combustion, such as carbon monoxide from the gas boiler, directly outside.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the type of tile vent bought by Mr Vokes was neither an adequate or appropriate substitute for the roof tile it was to replace, and was designed simply to ventilate the loft space.

It did not incorporate an adaptor and was therefore not suitable to flue products of combustion.

The investigation also found Vokes was not competent to carry out work on flues or any gas fittings, nor was he on the Gas Safe Register.

His work fell well short of the expected standards when dealing with flues for gas appliances, therefore putting the homeowner at risk.

Vokes, of Cresswell Drive, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws.

He was jailed for 18 weeks, and ordered to pay PS3,000 costs and PS1,470 compensation.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Jonathan Wills said: "Mr Vokes targeted an elderly lady in order to profit financially, with a flagrant disregard for the law.

"Had the work been carried out properly by someone competent to do so, then the homeowner's life would not have been put at risk."

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 1, 2018
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