Trading Standards Secure Conviction Against Rogue Gas Fitter

  • A rogue gas fitter who falsely claimed to be Gas Safe registered before carrying out unsafe work, including a gas fire in Dunstable, has received a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay his victims compensation.

Central Bedfordshire Council trading standards carried out an investigation into reports of poor workmanship from a gas fitter. Buggins, the fitter, installed a gas fire in Dunstable in an unsafe manner, with the standard of workmanship falling below fair and reasonable expectations. It also found that Buggins falsely claimed to a number of residents in Stotfold to be a member of the Gas Safe register, despite it being a legal requirement to work on gas appliances.  He also took money to install a quality boiler but instead fitted a cheaper one of a lower standard.

As the investigation progressed, the trading standards team were also contacted by Hertfordshire County Council and asked to investigate consumer complaints from residents located in Hertfordshire.

After further investigation, it was established that Buggins had undertaken aggressive commercial practices and had pressured a disabled vulnerable resident into making additional payments beyond what had been agreed, and then failed to do any of the work. This meant that the resident had to pay an additional £1,200 from disability benefits to another trader to complete the work.

During the course of the investigation, the team worked with a number of other organisations including The Health and Safety Executive and Gas Safe Register Inspectors to ensure that he had his day in Court. 

Sam Buggins, 33, of The Rundels, Letchworth Garden City, trading as Infinity Heating and Plumbing, first came to the attention of Central Bedfordshire Council’s trading standards team in 2018 following several complaints by residents. On 1 March 2021, at Luton Crown Court Sam Buggins was convicted on five counts of Misleading Actions and one Count of Aggressive Commercial Practices under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. He was convicted and sentenced to a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, 20 days rehabilitation activity requirement and a three-month curfew between the hours of 5am and 8pm. He was also ordered to pay £1,200 compensation to his victims. 

Our Executive Member for Community Services, Cllr Ian Dalgarno, said: “We are committed to disrupting rogue trader activity and protecting our communities. Our officers will conduct robust investigations, where there is evidence of wrongdoing.

"Carrying out gas safety work when you are not registered as competent to do so is extremely serious and this could have endangered lives. Luckily in this instance, no one was hurt, and we were pleased to be able to obtain justice for all of his victims, both in Central Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, who’s evidence strengthened our case against him.

“This successful result will send out a strong message to any dishonest trader, who may be contemplating similar crimes, to think twice, or they may also find themselves in court.”

It is extremely unsafe to hire someone to do gas work, if they are not Gas Safe Registered. Before agreeing to have any work carried out on any gas appliances or pipework, please check that any potential trader is on the Gas Safe Register by visiting