Landlord fraudulently carried out gas safety checks

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A businessman formally based in Cornwall illegally carried out annual gas safety checks at tenanted properties despite not being a registered gas engineer.

Sven Biesterfeldt, aged 41, who uses a number of other names including Tom Williams, potentially put tenant’s lives at risk by carrying out the safety checks and fraudulently filled out a landlord’s gas safety document using another companies Gas Safe Register number in May 2014.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Sven Biesterfeldt at Bodmin Magistrates Court after his work was investigated following a complaint from a landlord.

The court heard that Mr Biesterfeldt used the Gas Safe Register logo on his work vehicle and also told the landlord that he was a member of Gas Safe Register and could carry out the gas safety checks at the landlord’s tenanted property in Troon, near Camborne. The checks should only have been carried out by a registered Gas Safe engineer to ensure the highest standards were met. The landlord became suspicious when he checked on the Gas Safe Register number that Mr Biesterfeldt had used on the safety certificate that he produced and discovered that it was for a company in Essex.

Sven Biesterfeldt, who has previously lived in Carnkie, near Redruth and then in Breage, near Helston, pleaded guilty to two breaches of gas safety legislation and was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for one year and ordered to undertake 180 hours unpaid community work. He was also disqualified from being a company director for three years and ordered to pay £4,000 in costs.

HSE Inspector Simon Jones, speaking after the hearing, said: “Mr Biesterfeldt should never have carried out gas safety checks and compounded this by fraudulently using the Gas Safe Register logo on his work vehicle and by using a properly Gas Safe registered companies details on safety documents he produced. This was a calculated and deliberate attempt to deceive the public into believing he was competent and registered to undertake gaswork and this could not be further from the truth.

“Mr Biesterfeldt put the lives of tenants at risk as he has no training or skills when it comes to gas safety and essential gas safety checks. Such checks are vital to protect tenants from death or injury caused by potentially dangerous gas appliances.”

Further information on landlords’ responsibility for gas safety visit:http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/landlords/