A company and its director have both been fined after carrying out illegal gas work at restaurants across the Midlands and south of the country, which health and safty experts said put business owners' and customers' lives at risk.
Kaysor Ahmed, 42, from Walsall, managing director of Sylhet Welding UK Ltd, previously Sylhet Welding and Engineering, carried out work himself at a number of restaurants, while not being Gas Safe registered, and employed others who were also not Gas Safe registered, over a sustained period.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found a variety of gas work had been carried out by Sylhet, which specialised in the manufacture and supply of industrial catering equipment, such as cooking ranges.
Leicester Magistrates' Court heard on Friday (27 June) that Ahmed's company had undertaken gas work at the Rickshaw and Bengal Spice restaurants in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, on 2 February 2012.
The work included disconnecting a gas valve, replacing flame supervision devices and reconnecting the gas valve, as well as installing the firm's gas cooker ranges at the restaurants.
In the south of England, HSE found Ahmed's companies illegally carried out gas work on numerous restaurants, which HSE investigated. These were: Show Spice restaurant in Wellington, Somerset, in May and June 2011; Khazana in Weymouth, Dorset in September 2009; the Saffron Indian restaurant in Bedford in September 2011; Barburchi Cuisine in Gloucester in July 2011; Viceroy in Dunkenswell, Devon in 2010; the Crown in Odiham, Hampshire in May 2008; and at the Shah Manzil in Liss, Hampshire, on 31 March 2014.
Kaysor Ahmed of Wednesbury Road, Walsall, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £6,600 and ordered to pay costs of £2,028. He was also banned from being a company director for two years.
Sylhet Welding UK Ltd of Oxford Street, Bilston, pleaded guilty to breaching regulations 3(2) and 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and was fined £6,600 and ordered to pay costs of £1,118.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Graham Tompkins said: "It is only a matter of luck that no-one has been killed or seriously injured as a result of the illegal gas work carried out by this company.
"In their various incarnations, they were warned on numerous occasions that they must be Gas Safe registered in order to work with gas and gas appliances, but this was never adhered to.
"Work was carried out in restaurants across the midlands and south of England over several years. Neither Mr Ahmed nor his company was Gas Safe registered so were not qualified or competent to undertake this work.
"In some cases the installations were left in appalling conditions that put the restaurant staff and customers at real risk of possible fire or explosion.
"Sub-standard work on gas installations by illegal fitters can also lead to serious health problems. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute those who work illegally and put the public at risk."