Bacup plumber fined over forged gas certificates

Michael Hunt

A number of Lancashire homeowners have realised work done on their properties has been carried out illegally.

Plumber Geoffrey Hewitt has been fined £750 after forging gas certificates and deceiving homeowners.

Thirty nine year old Hewitt, of Gordon Street, Bacup, was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive yesterday. He pleaded guilty to three health and safety offences after he illegally carried out work at homes in Wren Street, Lyndhurst Road and Saxon Street in Burnley between March and May 2007.

Hewitt posed as Jordan Rogers of Gas Heating Services Ltd when issuing gas safety certificates and a warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to attend two previous hearings.

Hewitt, of ACME Plumbing and Heating Services in Burnley, was charged at Reedley Magistrates' Court with three offences under Section 33(1)(m) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 after he supplied forged Landlords' Gas Safety Certificates.

Dorothy Shaw, HSE principal inspector, said: "Geoffrey Hewitt put lives in danger by issuing fake Landlords' Gas Safety Certificates, despite not being qualified to know whether the gas fittings in the houses he visited were dangerous or not.

"He worked in people's homes over several months. By producing the fake certificates, he was able to gain money from unsuspecting landlords and potentially risking poisoning homeowners with carbon monoxide.

"People should always make sure that gas fitters are registered by checking ID before allowing people to carry out work. HSE will continue to prosecute anyone who carries out work without adequate training, or who falsely claims to be a registered gas engineer."

The Gas Safe Register has replaced CORGI as the official gas safety registration scheme in the UK. All gas fitters must become members of the register before carrying out any work.

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