Suspended Sentence for Gas Meter Tampering in Wicklow
Unlawful gas meter interference puts lives at risk
Gas Networks Ireland has welcomed the verdict in a case relating to the unlawful interference with a gas meter. Mr. Bill Johnson with an address of 9 The Grove, Downshire Park, Blessington, Co. Wicklow who was convicted at Naas District Court on Wednesday, 11th September 2019, on charges of unlawful interference with a gas meter.
The court heard that Gas Networks Ireland had carried out an investigation at the property in May 2017 and found that the gas installation had been unlawfully interfered with. Following the execution of a bench warrant, Bill Johnson appeared in court on September 11th and entered a guilty plea. Judge Cheatle, having heard the evidence, considered this an extremely serious offence which could have presented a serious danger to the public.
Judge Cheatle recorded convictions against Mr. Johnson and imposed a sentence of four months imprisonment, suspending the sentence for a period of twelve months on condition that Mr Johnson keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
“Unlawfully interfering with a gas meter is a serious public safety concern,” says Owen Wilson, Networks Safety Manager, Gas Networks Ireland.
“A tampered meter is dangerous and creates a risk of a gas explosion which can result in serious injury or even death. Those who tamper with gas meters not only put themselves at risk, but also other occupants of the property, neighbours and members of the public.”
By law, only Gas Networks Ireland representatives and registered gas installers are authorised to work on natural gas meters and pipework. It is illegal to ask, pay or allow someone else to tamper with your meter.
Wilson continues, “This verdict sends out an important message to the public that meter tampering is a serious crime with potentially deadly consequences. Fraud is a very serious issue, but far more serious is the risk to life that meter tampering poses to the perpetrator and to people nearby. We are working to end unlawful interference with gas meters and the dangers associated with this activity.”
Due to the dangers involved, gas meter tampering is a criminal offence with possible fines of up to €5,000 and prison sentences of up to 6 months for those found guilty of the crime. Gas Networks Ireland has been actively engaged in identifying, and making safe, installations where tampering has been found and has detected over 2,600 cases of meter tampering across the country since 2013.
Members of the public are asked to report any suspicions of meter tampering to Gas Networks Ireland in strict confidence by calling 1850 200 694. Further information is available at www.gasnetworks.ie/metertampering
Media queries: Marie Sheehan 087 754 8968 / Marie.Sheehan@gasnetworks.ie
About Gas Networks Ireland
Gas Networks Ireland is the business division of Ervia that owns, builds and maintains the natural gas network in Ireland and connects all customers to the gas network. Gas Networks Ireland operates one of the most modern and safe gas networks in the world and ensures that over 700,000 homes and businesses receive a safe, efficient and secure supply of natural gas, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Ervia is a commercial semi-state multi-utility company with responsibility for the delivery of gas and water infrastructure and services in Ireland.