Bogus boiler fitter could be jailed over dodgy work at homes in Houghton, Washington, South Shields and Hebburn
Shameless Dean Blues, 32, used false names, a fake online profile and numerous phone numbers to conceal the fact he was an unqualified criminal menace.
Blues’ 15-month scam saw him hired by four homeowners in South Shields, Hebburn, Houghton and Washington, between September 2016 and July 2017.
His work installing a boiler at a property in Lingmell, Albany, Washington, in October 2016, was branded ‘immediately dangerous’ – the worst level of offence - by an expert summoned to double check.
He also did dodgy touch-ups to a boiler casing at a property in Gainsborough Avenue, South Shields, in January 2017, and in fitting a cooker at a house in Rede Avenue, Hebburn, that July.
And a boiler he installed in Dunscar, Houghton, was found to be ‘at risk’ by a qualified technician – the second worse offence band, the court was told.
Blues also targeted three homeowners in Blaydon, Middlesbrough, and Spennymoor, County Durham, between December 2016 and December 2017.
The work he did at homes in South Street, Spennymoor, and Saltwater Court, Middlesbrough, were also in the highest risk category, the court was told.
He was finally brought to justice when his victims tipped off the authorities and he was placed in a police ID parade and picked out by them.
Blues pleaded guilty to 24 offences of contravening health and safety under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 when he appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court via a video link.
District Judge Kathryn Meek told him her punishment powers were insufficient and committed him to Newcastle Crown Court for sentencing on Tuesday, March 9.
Health and Safety Executive prosecutor Julian King told the court: “There is a legal requirement for all people operating in this industry, a requirement to be Gas Safe.
“There are three levels of unsafe category – identified as ‘immediately dangerous’, which is the highest level, ‘at risk’ and at an ‘unfit’ standard.
“The defendant operated within the gas fitting industry. He used false names and numerous addresses, and had an online profile.
“He carried out illegal work at numerous addresses in the North East, putting lives at risk of carbon monoxide exposure and explosion.”
Of the Washington address, he added: “This defendant attended and installed a boiler, but there were concerns about the boiler.
“It was checked immediately and found to be ‘immediately dangerous’, the highest level.
“A detailed investigation was carried out by the HSE which involved the use of police resources.
“There were false names and numerous phone numbers. An identity parade was carried out and positive identification coming back.
“This defendant is not currently Gas Safe regulated and there is no record of him ever being so.”
Blues, of Annand Way, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, was granted bail ahead of his court appearance next month on condition that he lives and sleeps at his current address.