Gareth Scott Redford, 32 of Mepal, Cambridgeshire was handed a 16 month prison sentence after failing to attend Cambridge Crown Court last Friday (28 April) following a joint investigation by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards and the Health and Safety Executive.
Redford previously pleaded guilty to seven charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act, one charge under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and one Fraud Act offence. He had also been convicted of a further four offences – one under the Health and Safety at Work Act, one under Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and two fraud offences back in January at Cambridge Magistrates Court.
Judge Boothby decided to pass sentence in his absence commenting “this is a case of a classic cowboy plumber” and praised the work of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Trading Standards and The Health and Safety Executive saying “this was a very thorough and well prepared case.”
HHJ Boothby heard that matters came to light in 2014. Redford had ordered and fitted gas boilers, which he was not Gas Safe registered to do, without the knowledge or permission of his employer, fitting them in his spare time to householders in the Ely area. During interview with Trading Standards and Health and Safety Executive officers he admitted safety breaches at some of the properties. He denied any criminal intent. Redford was subsequently charged with 13 offences. Eight under the Gas Safety Regulations of 1998 and Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was also charged with three counts of fraud under the 2006 Act and two Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading offences.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s Head of Trading Standards Peter Gell said “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. 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.”