Runcorn woman fined for posing as Gas Safe-registered engineer

A Runcorn woman was fined after admitting that for three years she falsely claimed to be Gas Safe-registered, including using the Gas Safe logo.

A Runcorn woman was fined after admitting that for three years she falsely claimed to be Gas Safe-registered, including using the Gas Safe logo.

She was prosecuted by Halton Borough Council Trading Standards.

Catherine Dick from Runcorn pleaded guilty at Chester Crown Court to two offences of making false claims. 

Dick, trading as ACN Heating and Plumbing Services, had claimed to be Gas Safe-registered in a Yell.com advert that she placed in June 2014. 

She had also used the Gas Safe-registered logo on her invoices. Dick is not qualified as a gas engineer and not registered with Gas Safe.

The Court heard that the matter came to light in June 2017 when Dick was stopped by the police for driving without a licence. 

The invoice pad was found in the vehicle she was driving and messages about gas work she had done was found on her mobile phone.

Dick had pleaded not guilty in the Magistrates Court and had elected to go to the Crown Court for a trial by jury. On the day of the trial Dick changed her plea to guilty.

Recorder Nadeem told Dick that the driving offences and the Trading Standards offences illustrated an attitude of defiance of regulatory requirements. 

He noted that Dick had failed to co-operate with the Trading Standards investigation and failed to comply with the justice process.

When sentencing, Recorder Nadeem told Dick that they were serious offences: that she had gained an unfair advantage when competing against qualified and registered engineers and that she might have misled the public who used her services and exposed them to harm. 

He went on to say that a message needed to go out that those who provide plumbing services for gas appliances must be duly qualified and registered.

The Court heard that Dick was in receipt of Disability Living Allowance and was currently unable to work following an operation on her back. 

Recorder Nadeem acknowledged that she was on benefits but said that the offences were so serious they needed to be marked by a financial penalty. 

Dick was fined £250 per offence and ordered to pay £1,000 towards the costs of the prosecution, Recorder Nadeem commenting that an amount of the prosecution costs resulted from her lack of response to the investigation and her non-compliance with the justice process.

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Trading Standards, Cllr Dave Cargill, said: “There are real risks when an unqualified and unregistered person carries out gas work.

“We know that ACN Heating and Plumbing Services have been claiming to be Gas Safe-registered since 2014 but we don’t know how much work they have done. 

“If you think you have employed Catherine Dick or ACN Heating and Plumbing Services to carry out gas work then it would be wise to have that work checked by a qualified and registered gas engineer."

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