A COUPLE have spoken of their relief as a rogue plumber who installed a potentially lethal boiler in their home - causing a ceiling to collapse - was jailed.

Howard Pollitt, 72, and his 69-year-old wife Elaine employed Aaron Davidson to install a new boiler at their home in Westhoughton whilst their ensuite was being renovated.

The work was completed whilst the couple were visiting their son, who was undergoing treatment for a brain tumour, and his heavily pregnant wife.

Mrs Pollitt said: “We would never let anyone we didn’t know into our house, but he’d been recommended to us and we thought we might as well get it done.

“That’s what upsets me most, he knew what we were going through and still did that to us.

“He could have killed us, and if he was still working he probably would have seriously hurt or killed someone by now.”

Davidson, 26, said he was Gas Safe registered and quoted £2,300 for the cost of the boiler and asked for £2,000 in cash up front.

He installed the boiler on January 17, 2018 but soon afterwards Mr Pollitt noticed a leak coming through the bathroom ceiling which eventually collapsed.

Mr Pollitt refused to pay Davidson the outstanding amount and never received an invoice.

A second plumber found various pipes were not connected and electric wires were left exposed.

A flue pipe was not fastened securely meaning there was a high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and the boiler was rusty.

Davidson, who was handed a 16 week suspended sentence in 2017 for driving and drug offences, refused to return to the house and ignored letters from Mr Pollitt.

Mr Pollitt said: “He sees what happened in a totally different light and that’s the sad thing – he doesn’t see what he’s done wrong.”

At a hearing in Bolton Crown Court on Thursday, Judge Martin Walsh heard that self-employed Davidson had installed boilers at two properties in Bolton and Radcliffe in January and March 2018 through his company AD Plumbing Solutions, whilst falsely claiming to be Gas Safe registered.

His work at an address on Rupert Street, Radcliffe, in March 2018 saw Davidson enter a false Gas Safe registration number on paperwork, before refusing to rectify a number of faults.

Gas Safe Inspectors visited both properties and found the work to be of a poor standard, classing it at Bury as “Not to Current Standards”, and at Bolton, “At Risk”, due to the danger to life from the possible escape of carbon monoxide and risk of electrocution.

Elizabeth Dudley-Jones, prosecuting, said an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), found that Davidson, of Bury Road, Bolton, had never been Gas Safe registered and was not qualified or competent to undertake gas work.

Davidson, 26, pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and Regulations 3(3) and 3(7) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

He also pleaded guilty to a breach of a suspended sentence order.

Kevin Liston, defending, read out a number of testimonials and references in favour of Davidson.

Mr Liston said: “He (Davidson) is a capable and competent plumber and he has now come to his senses and changed his attitude and business practices.

“He embarked on a reckless and dangerous course of activity but he has now learnt several lessons.”

Sentencing Davidson to 16 months imprisonment in addition to 16 weeks for the breach , Judge Martin Walsh, said: “If this work is not done correctly and to a high standard, the dangers are of the gravest kind.

“You have shown an inclination to disregard the rights and safety of others and have put the lives of others at risk.”

HSE Inspector Jane Carroll said after the hearing: “Aaron Davidson undertook gas work which he knew he was not registered to do. All gas work must be done by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life.”