Cowboy gas fitter left homes in Sunderland, Washington, South Shields and Hebburn at risk of explosion

A cowboy gas fitter left homes at risk of explosion when he carried out work he has no recollection of doing due to heroin and ketamine addiction.

By Karon Kelly
Friday, 28th May 2021, 5:14 pm
The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.
The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

Dean Blues, who was already under investigation for work carried out in Edinburgh, left customers in the North East of England at risk of death from carbon monoxide poisoning, asphyxiation, explosion and fire due to dangerous gas leaks in their homes.

When the 33-year-old, who used a series of fake identities and company names to get work, was questioned by safety officials he used foul language and "rude hand gestures" in response.

Blues, who is originally from Scotland, pleaded guilty to 24 offences of contravening health and safety underthe Gas Safety Regulations, in relation to seven properties, and has now been jailed for three years and banned from being a company director for 12 years.

Judge Robert Adams said Blues' work had "potential for catastrophic results" and told him: "I am sure you do realise the dangers created by your behaviours".

Judge Adams said Blues' claim he is "unable to recall the offences due to the level of drug addiction" is "of concern" if true.

The judge told Blues he created a "significant" danger to life and that the risks of unsafe gas works are "well known to everyone" and that Blues told "a pack of lies about many, many things".

Judge Adams said a "question mark" remains over the work Blues carried out in Edinburgh and whether that was a potential explanation for his move to North East England.

Prosecutor Julian King told the court Blues carried out work, on six boilers and a cooker, at properties in South Shields, Hebburn, Houghton, Washington, Spennymoor and Middlesbrough in 2016 and 2017.

Mr King said: "The prosecution case is the defendant carried out work relating to gas fittings.

"He wasn't competent to do so, wasn't registered and his work constituted a danger to persons.

"He used false names, several telephone numbers, at least three bank accounts, all with a view to evading detection for carrying out illegal gas work and putting lives at risk."

The court heard work Blues carried out at three of the properties were so dangerous that the risk of danger it posed was "immediate" as a result of gas leaking from the appliances.

Tony Davis, defending, said Blues has since gained the qualifications he needs to work as an electrician and has "turned his life around".

Mr Davis said Blues' behaviour during interview was due to "bravado" and added: "He was suffering various personal problems which led to alcohol abuse and drug abuse.

"He very much was on the edge. He says to the court at the time of the offending his judgement and general lifestyle were consumed by addiction to ketamine and heroin."

Mr Davis said nobody was actually hurt but added: "It is the risk of harm he created that he must answer for most of all."

He said Blues, of Annand Way, Newton Aycliffe, had a troubled childhood and submitted character references to the court.

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