Cambridge crown court

A “classic cowboy plumber” has been arrested for fitting gas boilers without a licence.

Gareth Scott Redford, 32, was charged for eight offences under the 1998 Gas Safety Regulations and 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act, three under the 2006 Fraud Act and a further two under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

According to the law, every heating engineer (or tradesman that undertakes gas work) in the UK must be listed on the Gas Safe Register. This is designed to protect customers; gas leaks from unsafe appliances and fittings can put a home in serious danger, not just from fire and explosions but also from deadly (and odourless) carbon monoxide fumes.

Redford carried out the unlicensed work at four properties across Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire without the knowledge or permission of his employer. He was eventually reported to the Gas Safe Register by his concerned clients in 2014.

Mr Redford put the homeowners and residents at risk of harm, when he conducted gas work while unregistered.

Following a joint investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards (CCCTS), Redford’s work was found to be unsafe.

“Mr Redford put the homeowners and residents at risk of harm, when he conducted gas work while unregistered,” said HSE inspector Graeme Warden.

Redford was sentenced to 16 months in prison. The Cambridge Crown Court judge, who handed down the sentence despite Redford’s absence, labelled him a “classic cowboy plumber.”

“The safety of our residents is paramount. In this case it was immediately recognised the trader had induced people to have boilers replaced and he led them to believe he was qualified and authorised to do so,” said Peter Gell, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s Head of Trading Standards. 

“Gas Safe staff identified a number of safety issues that exposed the householders to risk. We will continue to work with our partners to keep the people of Cambridgeshire safe and we won’t tolerate this type of rogue trading in our county.”