CSCS test card administrators jailed for fraud

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Two CITB registered construction skills test administrators have been jailed for 28 months each after pleading guilty for fraud after passing CSCS applicants.

At court the two administrators pleaded guilty to fraudulently passing candidates CITB health, safety and environment tests for commercial gain, the two were test centre administrators at the accredited DWM Plant Ltd in Knutsford, Cheshire.

CITB investigators uncovered a large-scale criminal operation involving mostly foreign nationals being assisted on their CITB safety test, once these are passed the tests are used to obtain CSCS skills cards.

Many of the candidates were travelling long distances to take the test and would only be in the centre for five to ten minutes which raised suspicion.

The case was reported to Cheshire police, who proceeded with a criminal investigation into the conduct of Callum Ingram and Stephen McWhirk.

McWhirk, aged 62 of  Macclesfield and Ingram, aged 28 of Manchester, were charged with the offences and scheduled to face trial in June 2022 but upon a guilty plea at Chester Crown Court last week, to the charges in December 2021, they both received 28 months in prison.

Recorder Taylor the recorder summed up the case and acknowledged the fraud had exposed potentially large numbers of people in the industry and members of the public to risk of serious harm by providing a means for unqualified people to work on building sites when they had no idea of health and safety requirements.

Many of the people who had passed the CITB test had no understanding of english with the court hearing that the two fraudsters had profited somewhere in the region of £37,700.

DC Sarah Newton, from Cheshire Police, competed saying that: “Throughout the investigation we liaised with CITB, allowing a joint investigation, due to the unique and specific nature of the fraud.

“Fraudulently obtained CSCS cards, means that the holder has not demonstrated the professional competence and awareness of health and safety legislation that is required for them to work safely in the construction industry.

“This creates obvious risks to not only themselves, but also to other workers, and members of the public, while also undermining confidence. We will continue to work with partners wherever criminality puts people at risk.”

Ian Sidney,CITB’s Fraud Manager who led the initial investigation commented saying that: “We welcome the result today, it sends out a message that we will not tolerate individuals compromising construction site safety by facilitating some people cutting corners to obtain their site cards, without the required knowledge, skills or experience to pass the tests.”

“CITB also acknowledges and is grateful for the support provided by Cheshire Police, in securing the arrest and subsequent conviction of the two defendants”.

Nationaltradesmen.co.uk has long been reporting about fraud CSCS centres with this particular centres licence terminated, and 1305 tests were revoked in Jan 2020.

Many of the affected candidates, were offered a voucher to retest for free and allowed a three-month period in which to retake their test. Partner card schemes were informed of the revocations, and where appropriate, competence cards have also been retracted.