Dangerous rogue gas fitter handed suspended prison sentence
- Credit: Archant
A rogue gas fitter, who falsely claimed to be Gas Safe registered before carrying out unsafe work, has received a suspended prison sentence.
Sam Buggins, of Rundells in Letchworth, trading as Infinity Heating and Plumbing, first came to the attention of Central Bedfordshire Council’s trading standards team in 2018 following several complaints from residents.
The council’s investigation found Buggins, 33, falsely claimed to a number of residents in Stotfold to be Gas Safe registered, despite it being a legal requirement to work on gas appliances.
The investigation also found he had installed a gas fire in an unsafe manner, with the standard of workmanship falling below fair and reasonable expectations. He also took money to install a quality boiler, but instead fitted a cheaper one of a lower standard.
Hertfordshire County Council asked the Bedfordshire trading standards team to also investigate consumer complaints from Herts residents.
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It was established Buggins had undertaken aggressive commercial practices and had pressured a vulnerable resident with disabilities into making additional payments beyond what had been agreed, and then failed to do any of the work. This meant the resident had to find an additional £1,200 from disability benefits to pay another trader to complete the work.
At Luton Crown Court last week, Buggins was convicted on five counts of misleading actions and one count of aggressive commercial practices under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
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He was sentenced to 12 months in prison - suspended for two years, a 20-day rehabilitation activity and a three-month curfew. He was also ordered to pay £1,200 compensation to his victims.
CBC's executive member for community services, Councillor Ian Dalgarno, said: “We are committed to disrupting rogue trader activity and protecting our communities. Our officers will conduct robust investigations, where there is evidence of wrongdoing.
"Carrying out gas safety work when you are not registered as competent to do so is extremely serious and this could have endangered lives. Luckily in this instance no one was hurt, and we were pleased to be able to obtain justice for his victims."