Nearly 250 jobs have been carried out by unqualified engineers over the last two and a half years. Figures released exclusively to ITV Anglia by the Gas Safe Register show that:
- April 2010 - March 2011 - 103 investigations
- April 2011 - March 2010 - 96 investigations
- April 2012 - October 2012 - 45 investigations
Although the investigations are on the decline it doesn't mean the end of cowboy gas fitters. Of the 45 investigations over the last six months, six were so dangerous the appliances had to be disconnected immediately:
Across the Anglia region the highest number of investigations into work carried out by unqualified engineers were in Essex followed by Hertfordshire and Norfolk.
To be qualified engineers have to be on the the Gas Safe Register. They have to have the correct training and make sure they get assessed every five years. Failure to do so means they're working illegally. For those who do get the qualifications it's very frustrating:
As you can't see, smell or taste carbon monoxide it's difficult to detect - and the outcome can be fatal. Last year 18 people died in the UK because of badly fitted and poorly maintained gas appliances.
Before you have any gas work carried out experts say you must make sure the engineer is registered with the Gas Safe Register. They advise that you should:
- Always ask to see their Gas Safe Register ID card with their picture, name, trading name, expiry date (cards are given once a year), and special hologram.
- On the back of the card there are details of the types of appliances the engineer can work on - not all engineers can work on every appliance. If it's not listed on the back of the card they're not competent to do it.
- To double check they are qualified call the Gas Safe Register for free on 0800 408 5500 or visit their site.