ADVICE has been issued to consumers following the jailing of a rogue gasman who ripped off vulnerable customers, putting their lives at risk.
Keith Winning has been jailed for 13 months for fraud, falsely using the checkatrade.com logo and attacking two police officers.
The 42-year-old has also been given a seven-year Asbo to protect the public from his substandard work.
Winning, of Green Farm Gardens, Hilsea, targeted elderly people and charged extortionate sums of money for work that wasn’t even carried out. In one case he simply scratched off the serial number from the old boiler.
Peter Emmett, trading standards manager at the Portsmouth City Council, which led the investigation, said: ‘Keith Winning preyed on vulnerable people who believed he was a competent trader from his adverts but he was not. He thought nothing of taking their money and ripping them off. We are very pleased with the sentence imposed by the court and the Asbo will now stop him doing the same again when he is released.
‘We would strongly urge anyone who has had gas work carried out by this person to contact Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 to arrange an inspection, so that they can check the work is safe.
‘They will then pass any relevant information to the council’s trading standards team if required.
‘It’s advisable to double-check any membership claims, in this case the Checkatrade.com website, before hiring anyone to carry out work.’
Winning traded under the name Andy from Portsmouth Plumbing and Heating.
He used the Gas Safe Register and Checkatrade.com logos in the Yellow Pages, despite being removed from the Gas Safe Register in September 2011 after his qualifications lapsed and he failed to renew his registration. He was never a member of Checkatrade.com.
Phill Brewster, national investigations manager for Gas Safe Register, said: ‘Unsafe gas work can be fatal, as poorly fitted and badly maintained appliances can cause gas fires, leaks, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.’