A businessman, who went by several names and falsely posed as a registered gas engineer, has been sentenced by Bodmin Magistrates’ Court.
Sven Biesterfeldt put tenants lives at risk when he carried out annual gas safety checks at numerous tenanted properties despite not being a registered gas engineer. In 2014, Mr Biesterfeldt also fraudulently filled out a landlord’s gas safety form using a stolen Gas Safe Register number from another company.
If you run a business where members of the public could come to harm, it’s essential to have a good public liability insurance policy to protect yourself in case of unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, all registered gas engineers should have professional indemnity insurance to cover themselves in the event of any accidental damage or injury claims made against them while working.
Mr Biesterfeldt was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a landlord flagged his suspicions about the businessman’s credentials to local authorities. The suspicion was founded on the fact that Mr Biesterfeldt was using a Gas Safe Register number from a company based in Essex when his work was primarily carried out in Cornwall.
Mr Biesterfeldt pleaded guilty to two breaches of gas safety legislation at Bodmin Magistrates’ Court. He was subsequently sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for one year, and was given 180 hours unpaid community service. Mr Biesterfeldt was also told to pay £4,000 in court costs. Additionally, he has been banned from taking up a company director position for the next three years.
Simon Jones, an HSE Inspector, spoke after the sentence was passed: “Mr Biesterfeldt should never have carried out gas safety checks and compounded this by fraudulently using the Gas Safe Register logo on his work vehicle and by using an appropriately Gas Safe registered companies details on safety documents he produced. This was a calculated and deliberate attempt to deceive the public into believing he was competent and registered to undertake gas work, and this could not be further from the truth.
“Mr Biesterfeldt put the lives of tenants at risk as he has no training or skills when it comes to gas safety and essential gas safety checks. Such controls are vital to protecting occupants from death or injury caused by potentially dangerous gas appliances.”