London Heating Services

Fake fitter fined for helping out friend who could not pay

Michael Reed has been fined for illegally posing as a Corgi-registered gas engineer while fitting a boiler for a friend. AN ENGINEER will have to fork out more than 1,500 after trying to help an old friend.

But the 50-year-old, who trades as WAF Services, told Portsmouth magistrates he was just trying to help out a friend of 12 years who had fallen on hard times.

He said he carried out the work for Rosemary Singleton, a single-mum in her mid-50s, from Rowner, Gosport, for 1,093, because she couldn't afford the 2,400 a gas company would charge.

But he claimed when he went back to flush out her radiators and handed her a bill of 300 for the extra work, she reported him because she couldn't afford to hand over the cash.

Reed, who represented himself, said: 'Obviously at the end of the day I'm guilty of installing the boiler and I know I shouldn't have done it.

'The only reason I did is that Rosemary was a close friend for many years and I did it for next to nothing.

'She rang me and asked me if I could change the boiler I told her I wasn't Corgi-registered, she knew that, but she just couldn't afford the gas board.

'I relented to her request and carried out the work, which was against m
y better judgement.

'But then, when I gave her a bill for cleaning out the radiators, she couldn't pay it so she reported me.'

Reed was reported to Hampshire County Council's trading standards department.

Ray Matthews, representing the council, said: 'I don't think anything Mr Reed says with regard to knowing Mrs Singleton does anything to diminish the case.

'I don't think it is an excuse and I don't think it lessens the seriousness.'

Reed, of Fareham Road, Gosport, fitted the boiler on February 6, 2006, and when registering the work he wrote the fake Corgi registration number '131393' on the forms.

He pleaded guilty to deception by claiming to be Corgi-registered and breaking health and safety regulations by fitting the boiler when not qualified.

He was fined 750 and ordered to pay costs of 721 to Hampshire County Council and 65 compensation to Mrs Singleton.

Sent: 11/03/2008

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