Posted on: 18 February 2019
An unqualified rogue stove fitter from Crewkerne who installed an appliance that emitted potentially lethal carbon monoxide whenever it was lit, has been given a suspended four-month prison sentence.
At Taunton Crown Court on Friday 15 February Daniel Park, 26, of Langmead Square, Crewkerne, was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.
Park had previously pled guilty to 15 offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 at a previous hearing at Yeovil Magistrates Court.
However, magistrates said that the offences were so serious sentencing had to be determined by Taunton Crown Court.
In a prosecution brought by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards, the court heard that over nine months Park carried out substandard work throughout Somerset and failed to issue the correct certification.
It’s a legal requirement to have fuel burning stoves certified to demonstrate compliance with building regulations.
This is important because the installation is checked to ensure that it is safe to use and has not damaged the fabric of the existing building. If it’s not done, the homeowner can be liable.
In fact, Park was never properly qualified to carry out the certification and when contacted by consumers to resolve issues, he failed to turn up to rectify the problems.
On more than one occasion he failed to properly install carbon monoxide alarms with potentially serious consequences.
Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless and tasteless gas that is highly poisonous which is produced by all devices and appliances that produce combustion fumes including wood burning stoves.
One stove fitted by Park couldn’t be used as it set off a carbon monoxide alarm whenever it was lit.
Over the same period Park misled customers in Chard, Crewkerne, Shepton Mallet and Yeovil about his qualifications and certification. On his website and Facebook, he said he was able to certify work when he was not.
The court heard that to help convince potential customers he visited their homes with a folder containing certificates that he hadn’t earned and photographs of installations from a competent installer in another part of the country.
In summing up Recorder J. Barnes said that Park had ‘operated as a rogue trader’ – presenting himself as a ‘competent, qualified installer of stoves’ through a Facebook site ‘full of dishonestly fraudulent and misleading information’.
Recorder J. Barnes told Park: “‘I have come very close to sending you immediately to prison today.
“I have decided that this is not necessary as you were of previous good character, pleaded guilty and expressed remorse.”
He added: “You caused a great deal of harm to the victims in this case; if any further imprisonable offences are committed or a breach of the requirements of this order are made you will be back to this court and will serve the four-month sentence plus any other sentence for the new offending.
“There can be no question of you working as a rogue trader again. If you do, you will go straight to prison for a long time.”
Park was given 200 hours of community service, and a four-month prison sentence suspended for two years.
Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards manager Alex Roddis said: “Victims of doorstep offending and rogue trading tend to be elderly and vulnerable and can suffer both emotionally and physically after an offence.
“Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service will continue to take enforcement action and work with other agencies to protect residents from unfair trading practices.
“If you want to employ a trusted trader I recommend you look at our Buy With Confidence website.”