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, 33, of The Rundels, Letchworth Garden City, trading as Infinity Heating and Plumbing, first came to the attention of our trading standards team in 2018 following several complaints by residents.
Central Bedfordshire Council’s Trading Standard’s investigation found that Buggins falsely claimed to a number of residents in Stotfold to be a member of the Gas Safe register, despite it being a legal requirement to work on gas appliances.
He installed a gas fire in Dunstable 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.
As the investigation progressed, the team were also contacted by Hertfordshire County Council and asked to investigate consumer complaints from residents located in Hertfordshire.
After further investigation it was established that Buggins had undertaken aggressive commercial practices and had pressured a disabled vulnerable resident into making additional payments beyond what had been agreed, and then failed to do any of the work.
This meant that the resident had to find an additional £1,200 from disability benefits to pay another trader to complete the work.
During the course of the investigation the team worked with a number of other organisations including The Health and Safety Executive and Gas Safe Register Inspectors to ensure that he had his day in Court.
Buggins was convicted and sentenced to a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, 20 days rehabilitation activity requirement and a three-month curfew between the hours of 5am and 8pm.
He was also ordered to pay £1,200 compensation to his victims. It is extremely unsafe to hire someone to do gas work, if they are not Gas Safe Registered.
Before agreeing to have any work carried out on any gas appliances or pipework, please check that any potential trader is on the Gas Safe Register, or call 0800 408 5500.