An Ipswich gas engineer has been given an 18-week suspended prison sentence after carbon monoxide fumes from an incorrectly serviced heater left a tenant unconscious.

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Gas Safe registered engineer Greg Ranson, trading as Ranson Plumbing and Heating Ltd, of Downing Close, recieved the sentence, which is suspended for 18 months.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard Mr Ranson had been hired to service a gas-fired heater at a ground-floor flat in Sproughton in April 2013 before William Tumilty, 59, moved in the following month.

Due to mild weather, the heater was not turned on until November. Once the heater was operating Mr Tumilty fell ill. On the third day, Mr Tumility collapsed unconscious in the hallway about three hours after the heating came on.

He regained consciousness at 7.45am the next day. Hospital tests confirmed he had been poisoned by carbon monoxide.

A young family who lived above the flat were affected by the fumes and received hospital treatment.

Mr Ranson was ordered to pay compensation totalling £1,500 to three victims, and costs of £813 after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Health and Safety Executive’s investigation established the carbon monoxide came from the gas-fired heater. The heat exchanger assembly was blocked, preventing the harmful by-products of combustion escaping. The heat exchanger should have been inspected and cleaned during the service, but was not.

HSE Inspector Anthony Brookes said: “By his negligence, Mr Ranson could have caused the death of Mr Tumilty and his neighbours.”

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