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Higherford engineer sold 'danger gadget'
A SEMI-retired engineer has been rapped for selling more than 700 potentially dangerous adaptors, allowing LPG bottles to be filled on garage forecourts.
An expert engineer concluded that Alan Middleton’s devices were inherently hazardous, as the bottles were never designed to be refilled at service stations.
John Hodges, a Health and Safety Executive scientist, said that the design of the adapter, and lack of a separate captive thread, could lead to LPG escaping through wear and tear.
Preston magistrates heard that there was a real danger of overfilling the bottles, as most are only ever intended to be 80 per cent full, for safety reasons.
Nicholas McNamara, prosecuting, said the use of a similar adapter, not linked to Middleton, had seen a gas fire at a Rossendale service station, resulting in a man suffering severe burns.
Middleton, 60, of Barnoldswick Road, Higherford, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999 and was committed to Preston Crown Court for sentence.
He admitted designing an unsafe product, not providing adequate instructions for the adapter’s use and not including markings identifying himself as the manufacturer.
Mr McNamara said Middleton was first contacted and warned about the adapters’ sale on eBay in 1999. They were still on sale in 2009 and county trading standards officials asked him to stop. They recieved an e-mail agreeing to withdrawn the item. But in April 2012, it was discovered the adapters were back on sale.
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