Trading Standards sends rogue trader up in smoke

Published:  31 July, 2013

A Caerphilly installer has been fined £4,200 after an investigation by Trading Standards, regarding poorly fitted and potentially dangerous wood-burning stoves.

Luke Hathway, who traded as Everything Stoves and Celtic Stoves, had been the subject of several complaints to Trading Standards and had falsely claimed to be a member of HETAS, which operates the Heating Equipment Testing & Approval Scheme. Despite attending HETAS courses he had not registered with the Competent Persons Scheme, and therefore falsely promoted himself as a HETAS registered installer.

One wood-burning stove fitted by Hathway was inspected by an expert from HETAS and condemned as "immediately dangerous". When the fire was tested, the room filled with smoke and the fire was incorrectly positioned. Other wood-burning fires were investigated, which had already been subject to repair or replacement to make them safe.

During the hearing at Caerphilly Magistrates Court, Hathway pleaded guilty to 12 charges relating to falsely claiming membership of a trade organisation and not being professionally diligent when supplying and fitting wood-burning stoves. He was fined £4,200, ordered to pay £2,007.71 in victim compensation, and £1,379 in prosecution costs and a £15 surcharge.

Bruce Allen, chief executive of HETAS, said: “We work closely together with Trading Standards across the UK to investigate complaints and reports of poor workmanship. Part of our role is to uphold standards in the industry, while protecting the reputation of legitimate installers who are doing a safe and efficient job.

“The HETAS logo gives customers the reassurance of using a trained and qualified installer, and they can easily check either online or by phone that their installer is registered with us.”

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