Gas Networks Ireland has welcomed the conviction of a man for unlawfully interfering with the gas supply at his home in Cork, saying it sends out an important message that anyone interfering with gas supplies will be investigated, pursued and prosecuted.
Gas Networks Ireland’s networks safety manager, Owen Wilson, said people need to realise that due to the dangers involved, gas meter tampering is a criminal offence, and anyone caught tampering with a gas supply could face a fine of up to €5,000 and up to six months in jail.
“We are working to end unlawful interference with gas meters and the dangers associated with this activity. We’ve been actively engaged in identifying and making safe installations where tampering has happened, and we’ve detected more than 2,900 cases of meter tampering nationally since 2013.”
Mr Wilson was commenting after Leustean Rostas pleaded guilty and was convicted at Cork District Court under Section 15 of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 on one charge of unlawful interference with a gas supply and one charge of dishonest use of gas.
Rostas of Orchard Court, Blackpool, Cork was convicted at Cork District Court on September 27th.
The court heard that Gas Networks Ireland had carried out an investigation at Rostas’ home at Orchard Court on March 30th 2023, and found the gas supply had been unlawfully tampered with. A lock had been illegally removed from the installation.
Judge Joanne Carroll, having heard the evidence from Gas Networks Ireland, noted the seriousness of the matter and that the defendant was putting other lives at risk by his illegal actions, and she imposed a two month sentence on each charge but suspended them for 18 months.
Commenting afterwards, Mr Wilson said that 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 a gas meter, he said.
“This verdict sends out an important message to the public that meter tampering is a serious crime with potentially deadly consequences. Theft of gas 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.”
He urged anyone with suspicions of gas tampering to report it by ringing Gas Networks Ireland on 1800 464 464.